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The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 3
The Fifties

By Steve Nicholson

The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 3
Hardback, 282 pages £75.00
Published: 2011
ISBN: 9780859897501
Format: 234mm x 156mm
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PDF, 282 pages £75.00
Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780859899055
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Paperback, 294 pages £25.00
Published: 2020
ISBN: 9781905816422
Format: 234mm x 156mm
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Subjects: Performance
Series: Exeter Performance Studies

This is the third volume in a new paperback edition of Steve Nicholson’s comprehensive four-volume analysis of British theatre censorship from 1900-1968, based on previously undocumented material in the Lord Chamberlain's Correspondence Archives in the British Library and the Royal Archives at Windsor. Focusing on plays we know, plays we have forgotten, and plays which were silenced for ever, Censorship of British Drama demonstrates the extent to which censorship shaped the theatre voices of this decade. The book charts the early struggles with Royal Court writers such as John Osborne and with Joan Littlewood and Theatre Workshop; the stand-offs with Samuel Beckett and with leading American dramatists; the Lord Chamberlain’s determination to keep homosexuality off the stage, which turned him into a laughing stock when he was unable to prevent a private theatre club in London's West End from staging a series of American plays he had banned, including Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge and Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; and the Lord Chamberlain’s attempts to persuade the government to give him new powers and to rewrite the law.

This new edition includes a contextualising timeline for those readers who are unfamiliar with the period, and a new preface.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47788/SEEA6021


Introduction: 'That Happy State'

1. Censorship in a Golden Age

2. 'Packed with Nancies': Homosexuality and the Stage (I)

3. Breaking the Rules, Breaking the Lord Chamberlain: Unlicensed Plays in the West End

4. Speaking the Unspoken: Homosexuality and the Stage (II)

5. Not Always on Top: The Lord Chamberlain's Office and the New Wave

6. Dirty Business: Sex, Religion and International Politics

7. The Tearing Down of Everything: Class, Politics and Aunt Edna


Biographies of the principal people working for the Lord Chamberlain's Office


Select Bibliography


. . . the book that I most eagerly awaited in 2011 . . .

Nicholson is a scholar who writes with lucidity, wit, humane intelligence and grace of mind. There is no jargon in his pages, but much glorious hilarity.

Nicholson's series ought to be mandatory reading for historians and biographers interested in twentieth-century England. [. . .] The quotations in this book are a gold mine for other writers.'

- Richard Davenport-Hines, The Times Literary Supplement

Steve Nicholson is Emeritus Professor of 20th-Century and Contemporary Theatre, and Director of Drama, in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. He is a 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 3
The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 3 - The Fifties - Hardback cover

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 282 pages
 234mm x 156mm

 PDF , 282 pages

 Paperback , 294 pages
 234mm x 156mm

BIC Code:
  HIS015000, HIS018000, HIS054000, PER011000, PER014000, POL039000
 University of Exeter Press


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