Esmee West-Agboola (CSSD) - 2020-21 Students

CDA in collaboration with Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and The National Theatre (Black Plays Archives)

From the Shadows: Black, Queer British theatre practitioners and institutional constraints to visibility, 1980–present

From the Shadows critically assesses the presence and contributions of Black Queer British theatre practitioners throughout the last 40 years by piecing together, documenting and disseminating their histories. This project will produce primary research to support its aim of revealing the untold narratives of Black British LGBTQ+ theatre communities while critically evaluating why these lineages have historically lacked visibility. The doctoral student will work in collaboration with the team from the National Theatre’s Black Plays Archive (BPA) while studying as part of the postgraduate community of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and its eclectic research culture. The student will thus gain a thoroughgoing understanding of the research process, supported by Central’s expertise in both theatre theory and practice and the National Theatre’s expertise in archiving. To maximise public engagement and impact in this research, the student will develop digital educational resources for the BPA for use by established and emerging theatre companies. She will work with the National Theatre to address its historical omission of Black Queer theatre history in their programming and archive and, to support the NTs critical self-engagement, will curate exhibitions and talks around the thesis topic thereby disseminating its findings.

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