Representing race and black Britain in theatre, film, television and digital media: An interdisciplinary symposium: National Theatre, London, 6 November 2015

05 August, 2015

Confirmed Keynote speaker: Deirdre Osborne, Goldsmiths University of London


The National Theatre with Lynette Goddard (Royal Holloway) and Michael Pearce (Exeter) are delighted to announce a one-day interdisciplinary symposium dedicated to discussing race and black representation in British theatre, film, television and digital media. The symposium will be held at the National Theatre on 6 November 2015 to coincide with a ten-part BBC Radio 4 documentary about the history of black British performance on stage and screen presented by Lenny Henry.


Historically, and for a variety of reasons, black writers, directors and actors in Britain have worked across different media. In addition, a number of black British plays, films and programmes have been adapted to or from another medium; incorporate different media; or are influenced by or reference a range of different art forms from a variety of local and international cultural contexts. Critical discourses about race and the representation of black experiences in Britain are well established within the academic disciplines of theatre, media and cultural studies; however, black endeavours and representations on stage, screen and increasingly in digital media are rarely regarded together and in comparison with one another.


This symposium aims to bridge this gap by bringing together scholars and practitioners from different disciplines and artistic backgrounds. We will discuss how black Britain is represented in theatre, film, television and digital media and think about the numerous ways in which and reasons why interconnections between these media are forged and/or employed. We will examine and debate historical, political and aesthetic continuities, connections and crossovers and the implications of these relationships to issues of black representation and its analysis. In doing so, the symposium aims to nurture new debates, establish new approaches and forge new interdisciplinary relationships for future assessment of black culture and its representation in Britain.


We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on any aspect of representations of black Britain in theatre, film or television practice and/or their intermedia connections. These might include thematic papers about concerns of race and representation, papers about particular practitioners/companies and/or specific plays, films, television programmes or digital media projects. We encourage papers from scholars at all levels of their careers as well as students of PhD and MA programmes.


Deadline for abstracts of 200 words: 1 September 2015.

Please send abstracts and a brief biographical note of about 50 words to and

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