Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This article analyzes Britain's theatrical contribution to the First World Festival of Black and African Culture, held in Dakar, Senegal, in 1966. Involving key structures of the liberal cultural establishment, such as the British Museum, the BBC, and the nascent Arts Council, Britain's contribution to Dakar '66 was symptomatic of a post-war zeitgeist shaped by decolonization, race relations legislation, and the ongoing sociocultural dynamics of Empire. The article draws on the previously unseen archives of the Negro Theatre Workshop (founded by Trinidadian-born cultural activist Pearl Connor-Mogotsi in 1961) held at the George Padmore Institute in London. The workshop's jazz adaptation of St Luke's Passion connects the pan-African ethos of this major cultural event on the African continent to local political and cultural debates concerning race relations and the Windrush generation in London. Such North-South encounters are less documented than the transatlantic and inter-African cultural exchanges that dominate existing scholarship on pan-African festivals and black internationalism. As such, the article contributes a fresh transnational and translingual dimension to the current understanding of early black British cultural production, its lived, pan-African dimensions, and its institutional contexts in the mid-twentieth century.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 19-34
Launched on MUSE
2019-12-06
Open Access
No
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