This book marks a significant methodological shift in studies of black British women’s theatre: it looks beyond published plays to the wealth of material held in archives of various kinds, from national repositories and themed collections to individuals’ personal papers. It finds there a cache of unpublished manuscripts and production recordings distinctive for their non-naturalistic aesthetics. Close analysis of selected works identifies this as an intersectional feminist creative practice.
Chapters focus on five theatre companies and artists, spanning several decades: Theatre of Black Women (1982-1988), co-founded by Booker Prize-winning writer Bernardine Evaristo; Munirah Theatre Company (1983-1991); Black Mime Theatre Women’s Troop (1990-1992); Zindika; and SuAndi. The book concludes by reflecting on the politics of representation, with reference to popular postmillennial playwright debbie tucker green.
Drawing on new interviews with the playwrights/practitioners and their peers, this book assembles a rich, interconnected, and occasionally corrective history of black British women’s creativity. By reproducing 22 facsimile images of flyers, production programmes, photographs and other ephemera, Black British Women’s Theatre: Intersectionality, Archives, Aesthetics not only articulates a hidden history but allows its readers their own encounter with the fragile record of this vibrant past.