Society for Theatre Research Theatre Book Prize winner

Published: 22 June 2021
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Prize-winning Black British Women's Theatre: Intersectionality, Archives, Aesthetics
Nicola Abram

The Society for Theatre Research Theatre Book Prize for 2021 has been presented to university lecturer Nicola Abram for Black British Women's Theatre: Intersectionality, Archives, Aesthetics which was published last year by Palgrave Macmillan.

The work examines theatremakers' response to racism and sexism using archival material much of which has not been covered in study.

Cleo Sylvestre, one of the judges, said, “Black British Women’s Theatre by Nicola Abram was to me, a female black actor, a total revelation. This is an extremely comprehensive study documenting productions previously unpublished and undocumented material from five different companies, drawing on archives and personal collections. Themes of identity, class and inequality and alienation are explored by the companies heralding a new dawn of female representation on the British stage... It is a fine example of the early days of black women’s theatre that certainly should not be forgotten.”

Sylvestre was joined on the judging panel by journalist, writer, and arts critic Lucy Popescu and Emeritus Professor at the University of Sheffield Professor Steve Nicholson; STR Committee Member and the BTG's own Howard Loxton was in the chair.

The shortlist from which the winner was chosen also included

  • Questors, Jesters and Renegades: The Story of Britain's Amateur Theatre by Michael Coveney, published by Methuen Drama
  • Subscription Theater: Democracy and Drama in Britain and Ireland, 1880-1939 by Matthew Frank, published by University of Pennsylvania Press
  • English Theatre and Social Abjection A Divided Nation by Nadine Holdsworth, published by Palgrave Macmillan
  • London's West End: Creating the Pleasure District, 1800-1914 by Rohan McWilliam, published by Oxford University Press
  • Victorian Touring Actresses by Janice Norwood, published by Manchester University Press

Established in 1998, the STR Theatre Book Prize celebrates the writing and publication of books on British-related theatre history and practice.