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Censorship of the stage

Studying censorship of the past can provide insight into life during a particular time period.
Censorship of the stage
Censorship of the arts occurred long before modern day. Cultural censorship of theatrical discourse was in operation both formally and informally in the 18th century. London theatres of the time were sites of literary, cultural and political tension.

Formal censorship occurs when the state regulates stage performances. By contrast, informal censorship is self-induced. One instance where this could happen is when people involved in the play and the audience opt to not participate in a work that will end up censored. This type of self-regulation explains how plays were seldom banned. Since little attention has been given to the second form of censorship, the EU-funded project THEATRE CENSORSHIP (The censorship of British theatre, 1737-1843) aims to prove its importance to British theatre.

This is the first study providing an integrated history of theatrical censorship in the 18th century. Two manuscripts are being used as key sources for the study. Until now, research has not managed to unite the two manuscripts. This has led to a gap that needs to be addressed.

Furthermore, the work will span beyond attention to culture, politics and history through only English authority by also including the influence of the Irish, Scottish and Welsh. As such, it is examining the ways in which a regional identity and politics formed London during this period.

The study will be useful for historians and persons interested in theatre and censorship.

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Censorship,18th century, British theatre, theatrical censorship
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