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BIC Excellence Award

The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 4
The Sixties

By Steve Nicholson

The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 4

Society for Theatre Research Book Prize - 2016

Hardback, 366 pages £75.00
Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780859898461
Format: 234mm x 156mm
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PDF, 366 pages £75.00
Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780859899611
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EPUB, 366 pages £75.00
Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780859899888
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Subjects: Performance
Series: Exeter Performance Studies

The 1960s was a significant decade in social and political spheres in Britain, especially in the theatre.  As certainties shifted and social divisions widened, a new generation of theatre makers arrived, ready to sweep away yesterday’s conventions and challenge the establishment.

Focusing on plays we know, plays we have forgotten, and plays which were silenced forever, this book demonstrates the extent to which censorship shaped the theatre voices of the decade.

The concluding part of Steve Nicholson’s four-volume analysis of British theatre censorship from 1900 until 1968, previously undocumented material from the Lord Chamberlain’s Correspondence Archives in the British Library and the Royal archives at Windsor are examined to describe the political and cultural implications of a powerful elite exerting pressure in an attempt to preserve the veneer of a polite, unquestioning society.

Timeline: The Political and Cultural Calender
Introduction: Galahad and Mordred
1. The Inflamed Appendix (1960-1961)
2. No Laughing Matter (1961-1962)
3. Pleasuring the Lord Chamberlain (1963)
4. Some S. I will not Eat (1964)
5. Blows for Freedom (1965)
6. Going Wild (1965-1966)
7. Getting Tough (1966)
8. An Affront to Constitutional Principles (1967)
9. Let the Sunshine In (1968)
10. Afterwords (1968-1971)
Select Bibliography

'a consistently engrossing, entertaining and sometimes hilarious narrative.

Nicholson’s skillful deployment of meticulous archival research is combined with an effective sense of the overall picture of theatre and performance in the 1960s and concludes with a persuasive caution against complacency about the situation after the end of pre-censorship.'

Russell Jackson, Emeritus Professor of Drama, University of Birmingham, UK 

- Theatre Notebook, Volume 71, Number 2, 2017

'Nicholson’s unparalleled access to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office Files at the Royal Archive furthers our knowledge of the inner dynamics of censorship, bringing to light the correspondence between St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace over potential reforms to, rather than abandonment of, the system. The volume offers an invaluable behind-the-scenes insight into the background, personalities, tasks, opinions and sometimes blunders, of the Lord Chamberlain and his resilient staff at a time when the theatrical profession and the Government were preparing the scaffold.

Nicholson closes his long history of censorship on his major actors who ‘must have relished not having to keep up […] or even to read about theatre’ (291). As for his readers, academic or not, we will lament the abolition of censorship insofar as it has robbed us of another volume.'

Anne Etienne, University College Cork

- Studies in Theatre and Performance 36:1, 2016

'There is no doubt that theatre historians and those with a wider interest in the evolution of post-war British theatre have been waiting with great anticipation for this work. This fourth volume in a magnificent series again mixes meticulous – and original – archival work with sound judgements and a compelling narrative.'                                                              
Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor De Montfort University

'It’s a brilliant manuscript, forensic and fascinating, rich with detail and countless examples of the hilarious and bewildering attitudes of the later censorship, but with also Nicholson’s characteristic fair-mindedness which treats the Lord Chamberlain and his comptrollers with respect for the difficult job they had to do and the nuanced way in which they did it. It’s a great conclusion to a vital series.'

Dan Rebellato, Professor of Contemporary Theatre, Royal Holloway University of London

Steve Nicholson is Professor of 20th-Century and Contemporary Theatre, and Director of Drama, in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. He is the series editor for Exeter Performance Studies and the author of British Theatre and the Red Peril: The Portrayal of Communism, 1917-1945, also published by UEP.

The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 4
The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 4 - The Sixties - Hardback cover

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 366 pages
 234mm x 156mm

 PDF , 366 pages

 EPUB , 366 pages

BIC Code:
  HIS015000, HIS018000, HIS054000, PER011000, PER014000
 University of Exeter Press


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