Slavery and racism on the British stage

Slavery and racism on the British stage


Written by: IRR News Team

Launching her book Racism on the Victorian Stage at the Institute of Race Relations, Race & Class co-editor and historian Hazel Waters talked about the destructive impact of slavery on White British culture.

This month we are being encouraged to celebrate the bicentennial of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. Speaking to an audience of Black and White actors, playwrights, heritage professionals and academics, Hazel explained how the need to justify slavery distorted White dramatists’ representations of Black characters and stultified White audiences’ ability to perceive Black people as three-dimensional human beings.

Turning his attention to racism and racial representation on the modern stage, playwright David Edgar praised the greater number of opportunities for Black actors but argued that Black directors and playwrights’ work was often marginalised and underfunded by organisations like the Arts Council.

Click here to read Hazel Waters’ talk and here for David Edgar’s.

Related links

Download a copy of Hazel Waters’ talk (word file, 30kb)

Download a copy of David Edgar’s talk (word file, 34kb)

Order Racism on the Victorian stage by Hazel Waters

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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