Let the Sun Shine In: American Theatre, Protest and Censorship
An international conference co-sponsored by the American Theatre & Drama Society and the Eccles Centre for American Studies, October 26-27, 2018, British Library, London (UK)
Prof. Ramón Espejo Romero, Universidad de Sevilla (Spain)
Dr. Marlis Schweitzer, York University (Canada)
In 1968, the American musical Hair opened on Broadway, in London’s West End, and in Munich, West Germany. Hailed by many for capturing the zeitgeist of the late 1960s, Hair also reflected changes in the writing and production of American theatre. Produced Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, it emerged from experimental theatre practice to achieve commercial success on Broadway and internationally. Staging contemporary protest and dissent, the musical was censored on tour in Boston but became the first production to open after the Theatres Act ended both censorship in British theatre and the power of the Lord Chamberlain. This conference investigates American theatre, protest, and censorship in 1968, but it also looks backwards and forward to consider how protest and censorship have shaped American theatre, while challenging—and inspiring—its practitioners and audiences.
Scholars across the humanities and beyond are reflecting on the social unrest and demands for change expressed in 1968, recognizing the year as a catalyst for both positive and negative developments in culture and society. We intend to situate 1968 in a larger discussion of American theatre’s long-term and ongoing relationship with protest and censorship.