Black poetry has a style and sound different from other forms of poetry. Langston Hughes' work had a significant influence and became a basis for black theater.
Before World War II, there were black community theaters, but main stage theaters did not feature content for black audiences. Society saw black theater as a form of protest during the 1950s, until "A Raisin in the Sun" premiered on Broadway. Throughout the 1960s, black theater reflected revolutionary moments of the time.
The Negro Ensemble Company began in 1968. Other companies formed, but struggled to be financially successful. The American Place Theater and the New Lafayette Theater showcased plays by black playwrights they felt were important for people to see, regardless of box office success.
In the 1960s, many viewed black theater as an imitation of European-style theater that would eventually end. There were efforts to create a Black Theater Movement, but many of the shows continued to be for wide audiences. Theaters began casting actors based on skill instead of race.
Credits: Black Theater: The Making of a Movement
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This film documents the history of the leading figures, institutions, and events that transformed the American stage in the wake of Civil Rights activism. It includes interviews with Ossie Davis, Amiri Baraka, James Earl Jones, and Ntozake Shange, plus clips from many landmark plays.
Length: 110 minutes
Copyright date: ©1978
Prices include public performance rights.
Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.
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