The London Stage: Exit The Censor

THE LONDON STAGE

For more than three centuries, one man had despotic power to decide what plays would or would not appear on the public stage in Britain. As the royal censor, the Lord Chamberlain could summarily order an offending word, line or scene stricken from a script, or he could ban a play altogether by refusing to license it for performance. Although blue-penciling has eased in recent years, English playwrights have persistently demanded total dramatic freedom, and last July Parliament abolished the Chamberlain's licensing authority. Two weeks ago, the U.S. folk-rock musical Hair became the first play publicly staged in London...

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