INTRO on the Greek islands. A young woman


Race or ethnicity is to do with where you come from and the colour of your skin, such as American Indian or Alaska native, Asian, Black or African-American. There are many different types of theatre originating from different cultures across the world. However, in this essay I will argue whether theatre disrupts or re-inforces the representation of Black people. Race is represented in theatre through a range of ways. However, theatre can both disrupt and re-inforce that representation.

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 ‘Theatre’, Theatre is a performance that is predominantly played by an all-white cast, to a predominantly white audience, about general day-to-day themes that we all may go through. Such as love, hate, relashionship.  


For example Mama Mia the musical, is set on the Greek  islands. A young woman Sophie whom is a bride to be has nobody to walk her down the aisle there for she tries to find out who her father is from three ratherly different men that she has read about from her mother Donna’s diary. Having invited them all the to island she is on a quest to find the right one without making it obvious. However it does not take the men long to realise that they may be Sophie’s father and all want to walk her down the aisle. As the stories unfolds ot os full of laughter. Mamma Mia has had a range of cast hangs, and thought them not once have they had an ethnic minority person in it. Ether for the main for ensemble.  


 ‘Black Theatre’, Black Thetare productions are performed by a primarily all-black cast wittern by a black person and performed to black people. The productions would be about things that black people in the black community will have gone through.


For example……….




The history of Black theatre started dating back to the early 19th century being called the Minstrel show. This is the route of black theatre. However, minstrel shows were written by and acted by white men in black faces and also performed a white audience. In 1865 after the American Civil War ended black started in minstrel shows now called Ethiopian minstrelsy. A century later the shows were transformed into musical scripted juiced and played by black people. Black theatre flourished but did not become a Broadway sensation till 1935 minstrel shows are mainly comic parodies, variety acts, music and dance performances to make fun of African ancestries. After World War II ended black theatre grew even more. The performances were talking about more essential ideas reflecting on black revolution to establish a mythology and symbolism different to white culture.


In the early 1970s black theatre companies had started to form together and become recognised. In the 80’s Tallowa theatre company founded by four friends. This was a chance change and gain opportunities for black actors, allowing them to play leading roles in classical performances. This was a great change for British theatre. For The 15th anniversary of CLR James’s production of ‘ The Black Jacobins’ which originally had the rest of the cast ‘Blacked up’. the performance by Tallowa they did not do this ‘Further compelling ideas behind this production was that it started single the news down in which there would be no need to resort to that method of make up.’ (Black British theatre in London 1972 – 89 page 75 Yvonne Brewster)check this quote in book for theatres accept and allow Tallowa theatre company and other black theatre companies to perform at the venues this is reinforcing the representation of race showing that other than white people are able to form and have needful. This is theaters re-inforcing the representation of face. Allowing a theatre company to go against the norm of acting with black makeup on.


Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be marginalised? Because of marginalisation?

Even galore things that are being marginalised, new people your marginalised circle may not think you’re better than anybody else because you’re all in the same position you also live to achieve your main goals were position you have the same opportunities it’s full of equality however if you were trying to fill a position with somebody that isn’t marginalised they will cause a threat to you would have to try and work harder than them together same position you will be looked down upon.


What is your identity how do you identify yourself as?


‘Although our identity is partly shaped by recognition, it is often shaped by the misrecognition of others. This misrecognition, or non-recognition, is a form of oppression which can “imprison someone in a false distorted, and reduced mode of being”‘ (Taylor, 1992:25).

I believe that it is hard to, merely impossible to identify yourself as just being one thing because in total you are more than your skin colour, you are more than where you come from, you are more than what people see on the outside. How you identify yourself as could change people’s views about you and also change their actions towards you. We live in a very simple-minded world where there is man and woman, black and white allowing the loss of representation of people. As well as people not being represent, people are being misrepresented  too leading to marginalisation.  Theatre is trying to represent everyone nevertheless they are leaving a gap for radicalisation. Peoples sexual and gender is being over played.

We come to this space the suffering and pain, do struggle. We know struggle to be that which pleasure, delight, and fulfils desire. We are transformed, individually, collectively, as he makes radical creative space which affirms and sustains our subjectivity, which gives us a new location from which to articulate our sense of the world. (bell hooks,choosing the margin as space of radical openness, the applied theatre reader



‘We are “often” as much other that people from privileged class background who do not understand or share ask perspectives as we are to uninformed white folks.’


Do we all go through the same things n life?


Postmodernist theories address the gaps in Marxist approaches to “racial” and gender inequalities. These theorists have abandoned Historical Materialism and Structural Functionalism, believing them to be ethnocentric in the way they legitimize social hierarchies and ignore marginalized groups. These discourses are thought to contribute to the social

construction of generic gender categories, such as that of the “fixed, universal woman.” These constructions are rejected by postmodern feminists who wish to end the traditional domination of knowledge by “White” males in western cultures. The trend, therefore, in feminist discourse is towards more local narratives of lived women’s lives and a move away from meta theories (Seidman and Wagner, 1992:68-9).

Tajfel views colour as an independent variable in racism and provides three explanations for the specificity of “Blackness.” First, the widespread tendency towards a scientific explanation of differences between “races” where skin colour is easily used in crude “scientific” racist theories. Secondly, the visibility of “Blackness”. Finally, the attitudes of western culture to the colour “Black” which carries with it negative symbols and is an “expression of a historical cultural tradition which operates on deeper, sometimes unconscious, levels in western civilization” (Ibid:138).




Overall, I believe that theatre both disrupts and reinforces the representation of race. It re-enforces the representation to a small extent in the fact that blacks are allowed to perform in all theatres without being discriminated, because of their background, status or identity.  Also, that there are stories telling about black history that cannot and would not be told any other way. Unfortunately, theatre also dose disrupts the representation of race to a medium extent.  From the beginning when black ethnic groups were starting to be allowed to perform, but only preforming pieces that made a mockery of their own society. Then becoming a comical act still to entertain a white audience. Then later to entertain all types of audience but portraying black’s to be violent now the 21st-century Black Theatre has not had many productions that are creating positivity about Black people. Everything is negative, if it’s a historical piece it would be about the slaves being beaten by their masters, running away or dying. Or about black gangs from estates going after and killing another gang bout drugs or weaponry. Also, could be about somebody going through a struggle trying to progress in life and am not making the progression because of their skin colour. However, I believe that there should be more productions about black people that have succeeded in life, without having to go through such violence struggles for instance, ‘Hidden figures’, hidden figures is about a group of young black marginalised women working for NASA, having to work in a different building form the rest of the NASA employees, not doing the things that they want to do what but are being recognised for their inteligence. Yet still making progression without having to go through such violence; especially one woman in particular whom was the main cause of the successful trip from Earth up into Space via rocket using higher intelligence to help such an iconic moment in the world. Also in a few production there are between one to three black people as part of their ensemble, I belive that this is just to tick as box.