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A History of African American Theatre


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Part of Cambridge Studies in American Theatre and Drama

Lloyd G. Richards, James V. Hatch, Errol G. Hill
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  • Date Published: December 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521624725

£ 49.99

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About the Authors
  • This is the first definitive history of African-American theatre. The text embraces a wide geography investigating companies from coast to coast as well as the anglophone Caribbean and African-American companies touring Europe, Australia, and Africa. This history represents a catholicity of styles - from African ritual born out of slavery to European forms, from amateur to professional. It covers nearly two and a half centuries of black performance and production with issues of gender, class, and race ever in attendance. The volume encompasses aspects of performance such as minstrel, vaudeville, cabaret acts, musicals and opera. Shows by white playwrights that used black casts, particularly in music and dance, are included, as are productions of western classics and a host of Shakespeare plays. The breadth and vitality of black theatre history, from the individual performance to large-scale company productions, from political nationalism to integration, is conveyed in this volume.

    • First and only definitive history of African-American theatre
    • Demonstrates the influence that black and white peformances have had on each other
    • Winner of many awards, including CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles (2005), and the Barnard Hewitt Award for Excellence in Theatre History (2004)
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    • Winner of the Theatre Library Association's 2003 George Freedley Memorial Award

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The complete historical reference for the African American theatre lover.' Family Digest Magazine

    'Though many mourn the recent loss of Errol Hill, he and Hatch leave a lasting legacy with his valuable and comprehensive history … Both Hill and Hatch have already been instrumental in providing extensive scholarship and criticism of African American theater and drama, and this volume broadens that investigation … The book clarifies the reality that African American contributions to theater can no longer be ignored or relegated to 'token paragraphs.' Essential.' Choice

    'Impressive in scope, this magesterial history of the hardships and achievements of black creators of theatre in America takes the reader from the early 1400s origins of the African slave trade to events-in-progress at certain theatres in the spring of 2001, includes theatrical forms like minstrelsy and vaudeville, and looks at African American theatre in cities all across the United States as well as in the Caribbean … A History of African American Theatre surely takes its place as our definitive work on the subject.' Theatre History Studies

    'Now is the time for this book. … To read A History of African American Theatre is exhilarating and exhausting; its scope encompasses everything that avows even a peripheral connection to the theatre, ranging from African ritual to European forms, from playwrights to critics. … Hatch and Hill approach the historical material, regardless if it covers the background to slavery, the Great Depression, or educational theatre, with enthusiasm.' N. Graham Nesmith

    '… they have done a fantastic job of documenting the information in an accessible study that offers insights into contributors to black theatre movements from slavery to the thirdmillennium … I could really do no justice by listing what is included here, the coverage is so vast … a worthy contribution to academic knowledge and an invaluable resource.' Journal of New Theatre Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521624725
    • length: 634 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 155 x 37 mm
    • weight: 0.98kg
    • contains: 43 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Foreword Lloyd G. Richards
    Preface James V. Hatch
    List of abbreviations
    Introduction Errol G. Hill
    1. Slavery and conquest: background to black theatre Errol G. Hill
    2. The African Theatre to Uncle Tom's Cabin Erroll G. Hill
    3. The Civil War to The Creole Show Errol G. Hill
    4. The American minstrelsy in black and white James V. Hatch
    5. New vistas: plays, spectacles, musicals, and opera Errol G. Hill
    6. The struggle continues Errol G. Hill and James V. Hatch
    7. The Harlem Renaissance James V. Hatch
    8. Educational theatre James V. Hatch and Errol G. Hill
    9. The Caribbean connection Errol G. Hill
    10. The Great Depression and Federal Theatre James V. Hatch
    11. Creeping toward integration James V. Hatch
    12. From Hansberry to Shange James V. Hatch
    13. The Millennium James V. Hatch
    Appendix: Theatre scholarship at the year 2002

  • Authors

    Errol G. Hill, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
    Professor Emeritus, Theatre Department, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.

    James V. Hatch, City University of New York
    Professor Emeritus in the Graduate Theatre Program at the City University of New York.


    Lloyd G. Richards, James V. Hatch, Errol G. Hill


    • Winner of the Theatre Library Association's 2003 George Freedley Memorial Award
    • Winner of the Barnard Hewitt Award for Excellence in Theatre History awarded by the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR)
    • Outstanding Academic Title for 2005 awarded by CHOICE

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