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Title: Theatrical censorship in Britain, 1901-1968
Author: Florance, J. A.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1980
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The thesis completes the history of pre-censorship of the British theatre by the Lord Chamberlain started by Dr L. Conolly and Dr J.R. Stephens in their respective disserations, Theatrical Censorship in England 1737-1800 (University of Wales, 1970), and Dramatic Censorship During the Reign of Victoria (University of Wales, 1972). Drawing on information contained in the Lord Chamberlain's Day Books, the vast literature associated with abolitionist agitation and other sources, the dissertation chronicles the changing policies of the Play Licensing Authority and, more significantly, the rise of sustained agitation to the institution. Two distinct periods of agitation are isolated and discussed in detail: that beginning in the 1890's associated particularly with the suppression of works by Ibsen, Shaw and Granville Barker and culminating in the Joint Select Committee on the censorship in 1909; and that associated with the growth of a new controversial drama in the mid-50's and 60's and culminating in the 1967 Joint Select Committee on censorship and the Theatres Act of 1968. The Report of each Joint Committee is discussed and the underlying assumptions of the censorship, the foundations of the abolitionist argument and the ideas of the pro-censorship lobby analysed in each case. The dissertation ends with an extensive survey of the theatre since 1968 with the purpose of examining the effect censorship had on drama and the response of writers and impresarios to the freedoms granted by the 1968 Theatres Act. It concludes that in all probability censorship had little effect on the quality and content of drama during the period of its existence, that it nevertheless constituted an unwarranted annoyance to many in the theatre and that in practical terms, owing to developments in the theatre in the late 60's and 70's it is unlikely that it could have survived for much longer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available