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Una Marson

1905-1965

Born: Jamaica, 1905

Biography

Una Marson was a pioneering Jamaican poet, dramatist, journalist, and broadcaster whose most prolific period was the 1930s, during which she divided her time between Kingston, Jamaica, and London. Marson was the first black woman to be employed by the BBC and began her job as a Programme Assistant with the Empire Service, on the programme “Calling the West Indies”. She later worked on a series with George Orwell before establishing her own poetry strand “Caribbean Voices”, which in later years under the direction of Henry Swanzy would introduce authors such as George Lamming, Sam Selvon, V. S. Naipaul and Edward Kamau Braithwaite to a wider audience. The programme ran for fifteen years until 1958. For theatre, she wrote the plays At What a Price (1933), London Calling (1938) and Pocomania (1938) which all preimeired in Jamaica. In 2022, her play Pocomania was staged for the first time in the UK at Theatre Peckham.

Publications

Pocomania and London Calling

Pocomania and London Calling

Year: 2016

Publisher: Blouse and Skirt Books

Featured Content

That Black Theatre Podcast

Join hosts Nadine and Nadia as they look into the life and history of the legendary Una Marson, the first Black female playwright in the Black Plays Archive

Winsome Pinnock and Ola Animashawun on London Calling

Watch playwright Winsome Pinnock and NT Associate Ola Animashawun discuss Una Marson and her play London Calling.

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