University of Exeter Press

The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 3

The Fifties

    • 282 Pages

    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.


    New paperback, with contextualising timeline and biographies, published in association with the Society for Theatre Research

    This volume covers the 1950s, focusing on plays we know, plays we have forgotten, and plays which were silenced for ever, demonstrating the extent to which censorship shaped the theatre voices of this decade.

    . . . 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

    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

    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.

      • 282 Pages