Today the National Theatre launches a new digital platform for the Black Plays Archive, marking the tenth anniversary of the online resource. The new website contains a catalogue of the first professional production of Black British, African, and Caribbean plays produced in the UK from 1909 to today.
The digital archive includes over 850 plays and over 300 Black British, African, and Caribbean writers. Notable works include Pocomania from Jamaican writer Una Marson, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl by Errol John and works from contemporary writers including Winsome Pinnock, Roy Williams and Dipo Baruwa-Etti.
Alongside the extensive database of plays, the archive also contains a vast range of resources including over 70 video and audio recordings of play extracts, a bibliography of essays on Black British theatre and video interviews with leading practitioners and academics in the field. The database can also be used to search for cast and creative teams for each production, the theatre they were first staged at, and which archives hold more information.
The Black Plays Archive uncovers a wealth of theatrical history and records the development and cultural influence of Black British theatre. The resource aims to support practitioners, teachers, students and academics to discover lesser-known scripts, encourage the commissioning or restaging of these works and support the teaching of more diverse texts on the syllabus.
Clint Dyer, Deputy Artistic Director at the National Theatre said, “The Black Plays Archive is such a valuable resource that heralds work from Black British, African and Caribbean playwrights in Britain. The range of resources offered not only makes us aware of the history and cultural influence of Black British theatre but can also enable users to find ways to programme more global majority work. The National Theatre is delighted to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Black Plays Archive with the launch of this new platform, making it even easier to explore and access the range of brilliant work available.”
The Black Plays Archive is available to access now online.