LECTURE: Contemporary Black British Playwrights: Margins to Mainstream

Wednesday 9th November 2016, 7:30pm: Swedenborg Hall, London WC1A 2TH | map

Presented by Dr. Lynette Goddard
The first decade of the twenty-first century has been described as witnessing a ‘cultural renaissance’ of black British playwriting, demonstrated by an increased visibility at London’s main theatres, including the National Theatre, the Royal Court, the Soho Theatre, the Tricycle, and even in the West End. At the forefront of this increased visibility are four key playwrights, Kwame Kwei-Armah, debbie tucker green, Roy Williams, and Bola Agbaje, whose plays arguably exemplify twenty-first century black British playwrights’ engagement with topical social issues, which warranted their increased recognition by the mainstream. This talk explores an approach to researching these playwrights’ portrayals of a range of topical themes, such as urban crime and violence, domestic and sexual abuse, immigration and asylum, and global poverty to explore both the critical frameworks for analysis of new black playwriting, and for understanding the socio-political and theatrical conditions that heralded the shift from the margins to the mainstream. It outlines methods for analyzing black British plays that remain mindful of social, political and aesthetic practices.

Lynette Goddard is Reader in Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. Their research focuses on politicised representations of race, gender, and sexuality in contemporary black British playwriting. Their publications in this area include writing Staging Black Feminisms: Identity, Politics, Performance (Palgrave, 2007), Contemporary Black British Playwrights: Margins to Mainstream (Palgrave, 2015) and co-editing Modern and Contemporary Black British Drama (Palgrave, 2015). Their current research is focusing on comparing the politics and impact of black historical playwriting as cultural memory by writers from the UK, USA and British and French Africa and the Caribbean.

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