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That Black Theatre Podcast

That Black Theatre Podcast is about Black theatre, Black creativity and Blackness in Britain. Hear stories about and from the leaders of Black British theatre, from 1900 to today.

That Black Theatre Podcast is hosted by PhD researcher Nadine Deller and her sister Nadia Deller. Listen as they delve into the Black Plays Archive to celebrate the leaders of Black British theatre in the context of the socio-political events that have influenced their work. Nadine and Nadia interview writers like Winsome Pinnock and Roy Williams, discuss the works of Mojisola Adebayo and Mustapha Matura and chat to Professor Leni Goddard (Royal Holloway University).

You can also find us on Apple PodcastsAmazon MusicGoogle Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast

Episode 1

In our first episode of That Black Theatre Podcast we talk about the wonderful Black Plays Archive, the focal point of our journey into Black theatre history in Britain. We chat to a leading academic and previous manager of the Black Plays Archive, Natasha Bonnelame.

Episode 2

In the second episode, we are looking into history and the first Black female playwright in the Black Plays Archive, the legendary Una Marson, and how she flourished in 1930s Britain.

Episode 3

This week, we are delving into a seminal point in Black British theatre, the 1950s. We look at the historical backdrop of the post-war period, mass immigration and the Windrush generation.

Episode 4

This week we are looking a the tumultuous 1960s, a time of civil unrest, civil rights, anti-colonial struggle, and international conflict.

Episode 5

This week we move into the 1970s, a time of resistance of rebellion. We talk about the work of Mustapha Matura and Alfred Fagon amidst the realities of police brutality, anti-racist politics and Black Power in Britain and the USA.

Episode 6

This week we are looking at the 1980s, a time when there was a ‘boom’ in Black theatre production in Britain. We discuss the political and social changes that occurred in the decade that brought us Thatcher’s Tory government, recession and institutional racism.

Episode 7

This week we discuss the position of Black female playwrights in the 1980s and 1990s. We talk to Professor Leni Goddard (Royal Holloway University) about the politics of representation and Black lesbian and queer playwrights, including Jackie Kay and Valerie Mason-John.

Episode 8

An interview and discussion dedicated to the brilliant and prominent playwright and academic, Winsome Pinnock.

Episode 9

This week we discuss the question of whether there was a ‘renaissance’ in Black theatre during the 2000s and the work of debbie tucker green, with prominent academic, Professor Leni Goddard (Royal Holloway University).

Episode 10

Continuing our discussion of the 2000s, we talk about how theatre can address the ‘state of the nation’ through the work of brilliant playwright, Roy Williams.

Episode 11

This week we have a special guest, Mojisola Adebayo, to discuss ‘Afro-Queer theatre’, Black queer stories in theatre, climate change and colonisation.

Episode 12

This week we look at the last decade of Black British theatre and ask: have things really changed for Black theatre practitioners?

Episode 13

In our final episode, we interview the exceptional theatre director Ola Ince. We talk about her past and upcoming work, the future of Black theatre and what she wants to see change in the British theatre industry.

About the podcast

That Black Theatre podcast begins with the works of trailblazing theatre practitioners Una Marson and Errol John and the writers who followed, including Mustapha Matura and Alfred Fagon, who wrote against the backdrop of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in Britain and America.

Also discussed are the barriers faced by Black women playwrights with leading academic, Leni Goddard (Royal Holloway University). The plays of Valerie Mason-John and Jackie Kay are looked at in relation to the under-representation of Black queer and lesbian experiences on stage.

Nadine Deller concludes the series with an episode dedicated to Winsome Pinnock, conversations about debbie tucker green and Roy Williams, as well as discussions with leading theatre-makers both looking back at the history of Black British theatre and to its future. Guests include Jasmin Lee-Jones, Mojisola Adebayo and Ola Ince.

The podcast is a partnership between the National Theatre, the Royal Central School for Speech and Drama, University of London and the AHRC London Arts and Humanities Partnership.

Nadine Deller is a PhD candidate undertaking a Collaborative Doctoral Award between the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the National Theatre. Her thesis, ‘Deviancy and Potential in the Heterotopias of Black British Women’s Theatre’ looks to shed light on the position and work of Black women playwrights in the National Theatre’s Black Plays Archive. Nadine Deller also writes for leading film magazine, Sight & Sound.

Actor Paterson Joseph as Deli in Kwame Kwei-Armah’s play Elmina’s Kitchen at the National Theatre.

Deli (Paterson Joseph) in Kwame Kwei-Armah’s Elmina’s Kitchen, National Theatre, 2003. Photograph © Ivan Kyncl.

Discover more in the Black Plays Archive

Three actors in rehearsal.

Browse the archive

Search our catalogue of first productions, from 1900 to today from all over the diaspora.

Education resource packs

Explore our specially written resources for teachers and educators. Featuring resources for Cuttin It by Charlene James and Three Sisters adapted by Inua Ellams.

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National Theatre Archive

Dive into an exciting world of theatre history inside the National Theatre Archive. Located offsite from the National Theatre on The Cut.