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The African-Caribbean Identity and the English Stage

  • Barnaby King

In the first of two essays employing academic discourses of cultural exchange to examine the intra-cultural situation in contemporary British society, published in NTQ 61, Barnaby King analyzed the relationship between Asian arts and mainstream arts in Britain on both a professional and a community level. In this second essay he takes a similar approach towards African–Caribbean theatre in Britain, comparing the Black theatre initiatives of the regional theatres with the experiences of theatre workers themselves based in Black communities. He shows how work which relates to a specific ‘other’ culture has to struggle to get funding, while work which brings Black Arts into a mainstream ‘multicultural’ programme has fewer problems. In the process, he specifically qualifies the claim that the West Yorkshire Playhouse provides for Black communities as well as many others, while exploring the alternative, community-based projects of ‘Culturebox’, based in the deprived Chapeltown district of Leeds. Barnaby King is a theatre practitioner based in Leeds, who completed his postgraduate studies at the University of Leeds Workshop Theatre in 1998. He is now working with theatre companies and small-scale venues – currently the Blah Blah Blah company and the Studio Theatre at Leeds Metropolitan University – to develop community participation in

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Notes and References

1. Allen, Garfield, Activate: the Journal of the West Yorkshire Playhouse Arts Development Unit, No. 1 (Autumn–Winter 1996), p. 4.

2. Interview with Garfield Allen by the author, 3 March 1998. Unless otherwise attributed, all comments by Garfield Allen are from this source.

3. Garfield Allen, Activate, op. cit., p. 14.

4. See Network: Review of Community and Education Department, West Yorkshire Playhouse, 1993.

6. Information from interview with Maureen Rooksby, 8 January 1998.

7. Williams, Joe, What Is Black Art?, 1997.

8. Williams, Joe, Leeds Culturebox, 1997, p. 2.

9. Ibid., p. 1.

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New Theatre Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0266-464X
  • EISSN: 1474-0613
  • URL: /core/journals/new-theatre-quarterly
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