Africa on the British Stage, 1955–1966
Covering the period between Reginald Craddock’s Night Returns to Africa (1955) and the staging of Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel (1966), this chapter will examine key images of and from Africa as they were offered to British theatregoers. It will refer to dance, revues, and musicals as well as plays, and to the work of British dramatists as well as to that of African playwrights including Wole Soyinka, John Pepper Clark, and Guillaume Oyono-Mbia. Crucially, the chapter will focus on how such work was framed and received by theatre critics and within the press, suggesting some of the ways in which performances rooted in elements of ‘African’ culture may have exerted wider influences on and within the British theatrical establishment.
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