Black and Asian Women Playwrights to 1993: a bibliography

Work Produced in Britain to 1993

This is, in essence, the bibliography originally submitted with the essay ‘Black Women Playwrights in Britain’ Some of these scripts are discussed at greater length in the essay. It has been supplemented with a few names / plays from before 1993 of which I was not aware at the time. White or male co-writers are given in brackets. It has been updated to indicate where plays were subsequently published and to begin to add dates where possible.

Titles underlined indicate that plays have been published and where this was in an anthology e.g. ‘in Mortimer’, this indicates the editor of the anthology. Publication details of most anthologies are given at the end.

Though BAME was not yet the term in use, this list also includes Chinese and Maori women’s work. African-American (US), African (AF) women listed are or were resident in Britain at the time of writing (1988-89) or their play/s being produced. C indicates Caribbean women playwrights produced in Britain with e.g. JM to indicate Jamaica.

Many of the plays from this era are unpublished and missing from the archives. If you can add more titles – or have copies of scripts that you would like to pass on to an archive to ensure they survive, please email
contact@unfinishedhistories.com  

Second Wave

A

Sandra Agard

Women and Sisters (Royal Court YPT, 1986)
For We Are Women (Rano Asian Women’s Drama,
What’s in it for Us? Black Women’s Drama / Docklands Drama Theatre Group at Tom Allen Centre, c1989)

Rukhsana Ahmad

Song for a Sanctuary (Common Stock Theatre) in George, 1993

Tracey Anderson

devised play, Theatre Centre

Adjoa Andoh

Just My Luck
(previously called Rachilo, Theatre Centre, 1989)

Cindy Artiste, (US)

Meridian (based on Alice Walker’s novel, produced Contact Theatre, Manchester, 1990)
Dreams With Teeth

B

Christine Belle

Word of Mouth (Staying Power, Nottingham, c1988)

The Bemarro Sisters

Gloria (Second Wave, Albany Empire)

Peggy Bennette Hume

Children’s plays for Roots, Carib etc.

Sudha Bhuchar & Kristine Landon Smith

Untouchable (Tamasha, Riverside Studios, 1989), Nick Hern Books, c1999

Pat Cumper

Fallen Angel and the Devil Concubine (Groundwork Theatre Company, Almeida, 1989)

Petronella Breinburg

Young people’s plays for L’Ouverture theatre

Hyacinth Brown (C-JM)

BUPS (Roots Theatre)

Barbara Burford

Patterns (Changing Women, Drill Hall/Oval House, 1985)

C

Ruth Carter

Women of the Dust (Tamasha, 1992) Nick Hern Books, c1999

Lawmary Champion

An Apple or an Orange

Meira Chand

House of the Sun (Tamasha, 1991) Nick Hern Books, c1999

Shorelle Cole, (US)

Blind Faith (Second Wave, 1988)

Trish Cooke (Roselia Jean Baptiste)

Back Street Mammy (Temba, 1989) in Harwood 2, ext in Considine and Slovo
No Place Like Home ext in Considine and Slovo
Running Dream (Second Wave, Albany Empire) in George 1993

D

Grace Dayley

Rose’s Story (Southbank Poly, 1984) in Wandor 4

Deb’bora

Where Do I Go From Here (Akimbo Productions, Oval House/ Drill Hall, 1984)
Text published in pamphlet form

E

Durlisia Eddo

playreading

Saira Essa, (AF)

You Can’t Stop the Revolution (Temba)

Bernardine Evaristo

Pyeyucca (Theatre of Black Women, 1985) ext. in Sulter. Extracts subsequently published in Island of Abraham (poems, Peepal Tree Press, 1994)
Silhouette (with Patricia Hilaire and Theatre of Black
Women, 1983)

F

Dorcas Faku (AF)

Wenzani, What Are You Doing? (with Diana Taylor, The Africa Centre, 1985) London: Polypton and West 6, 1984

G

Christine George

Family Bliss (The Basement at the Albany Empire, c1987)

Nandita Ghose

Ishtar Descends (Albany Empire, 1986) in Gray
Land (Oval House, c1988)
Bhangra Dancer (Red Ladder, 1989)

Killeon Gideon

England Is De Place For Me (Albany Empire, 1988) in Gray

Barbara Glouden, (C-JM)

Flash Trash (Half Moon Theatre, 1986)
The Pirate Princess (Temba, 1986)

Bonnie Greer (US)

Vigil Part I
in Acting Up! Heresies vol 5., no.1, issue 17
Zebra Days (ReSisters)
Munda Negra in Brewster 3 (shortlisted for John Whiting Award 1993)

H

Gloria Hamilton

Pulse (c1983)
Mercy, extract in Callaloo: Four Writers from Grenada, Young World Books, 1984
In Nobody’s Backyard (Umoja, 1985)
Success or Failure (Umoja, 1988)

Ruth Harris

The Children (1987)
The Cripple (1987)
The Writers (1988, all Theatre of Black Women)

Vivian Hassan Lambert

Ruth and Allie

Judith Hepburn

play on Mary Seacole, others with Carib Theatre

Patricia Hilaire

Just Another Day (Royal Court YPT, 1982)

I

Cassandra Isaacs

Women and Sisters (with Sandra.Agard)

J

Pauline Jacobs

A Slice Of Life (with the Bemarro Sisters, Second Wave, 1985) in Considine and Slovo

Soraya Jinton

Lalita’s Way (Royal Court YPT, 1989) in Dodgson

Diane Louis Jordan and Vinnette Campbell

Into Place / In Two Place

Yazmine Judd

Plays for Sphinx (i)
Winners (Theatre Centre, 1984)

K

Jacqui K

A Black Woman’s Diary

Scilla Kanyua

The Honourable President
Raging Goddesses
Keeper Rosa – War Song
Emisori Rites (Soho Poly 1991)

Jackie Kay

Chiaroscuro (Theatre of Black Women, 1986 in Davis 1
Twice Over (Gay Sweatshop, 1986) in Osment
Every Bit of It (Women’s Theatre Group, 1992)

Lisselle Kayla

When Last I Did See You, (Albany Empire, c1986 ext in Considine and Slovo
Don’t Chat Me Business (ReSisters)
A Way Out (Hi Time/ NPT, Albany Studio, 1987)
Don’t Pay dem No Mind (Hi-Time Theatre, Islington Town Hall, 1988)

L

Thelma Lawson

Safe As Houses (Theatre Centre, 1990)

Joy Lemoine & Sokari

Spring ’81 (York and Albany pub theatre, 1981)

Su-Lin Looi (Chinese) (& Beth Porter)

All Sewn Up (Eastern Actors’ Studio, 1989)

M

Jenny McLeod

Island Life (Monstrous Regiment & Nottingham Playhouse, 1988) in Hanna
Cricket at Camp David
Just Like a Genie (Theatre Centre, 1989)

Una Marson

plays in 1930s (see She Also Wrote Plays)

Chevonne Martin (US)

Domination (Second Wave, c1988)

Sheva Martin

reading, work with ReSisters

N

O

Ann Ogidi

Ragamuffin (BBC Radio, 1988) in Mortimer

Marie Oshodi

Blood Sweat and Fears (1989) in Brewster 2
From Choices to Chocolate (1987)
The S Bend (Royal Court YPT) in Sulkin
Here Comes a Candle
Hound (Graeae, Oval House, 1992) in Graeae Plays

Rena Owen (Maori NZ)

The River That Ran Away/ Te Awa I Tahuti (Clean Break, 1987, in Potiki

Olusola Oyeleye

Many Voices One Chant (BP Young Directors, BAC, 1987)

P

Jyoti Patel (w. Jez Simons)

Awaaj (Hathi Productions, c1986)
Prem (Asian Cooperative Theatre, 1988)
Kirti Sona and Baaa (Leicester Haymarket Studio)
Subah o Shaam (Leicester Haymarket Studio)

Gabriela + Jean Pearse

Miss Quashie and the Tiger’s Tail (Theatre of Black Women, 1986)

Winsome Pinnock

A Hero’s Welcome (Women’s Playhouse Trust, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 1989) in Plays International and in George
The Wind of Change (Half Moon YPT, 1986)
Leave Taking (Lyric, Hammersmith, 1990) in Harwood 1
A Rock In Water (Royal Court YPT, 1989) in Brewster 2
Picture Palace (Women’s Theatre Group, 1982)
Talking in Tongues (Royal Court, 1991) in Brewster 3

Q

R

Paulette Randall

Fixed Deal (with Tash Fairbanks, Women’s Theatre Group, 1986)
Fishing (Royal Court YPT, 1982)

Ravi Randawa

(plays for Tara in Education)

Jacqueline Rudet

Money To Live (Black Theatre Co-op, 1984)
in Remnant
Basin (1985) in Brewster 1
Take Back What’s Yours (Croydon Warehouse, 1989)
God’s Second in Command (1985)

Rudet writing as Magdalene St Luce

With Friends Like You (the original of Basin)
(Imani-Faith Theatre, 1983)

S

Lin Shu-Fern (Chinese)

The Sale of the Century (Mu-Lan Theatre, 1989)

Yasmin Sidhwa

Chameleon (one-woman show with Euton Daley, c1989)

Marcia Smith

Women and Sisters (See Agard and Isaacs, also see under Dodgson below)

Maud Sulter

Hysteria Limited edition CD catalogue, 1990

Meera (‘Feroza’) Syal

One of Us (with Jacqui Shapiro, 1988)

T

Kanta Talukhdar

How’s Your Skull? Does It Fit? (Hounslow Arts Co-op, c1988, full production was rewritten by Parv Bancil without Talukhdar’s involvement)
Nelson and the Burkha

Carmen E. Tipling

Arawak Gold ( with Ted Dwyer)
(Talawa at the Cochrane Theatre, 1992)

W

Carol Williams

All Things Nice (Old Red Lion, 1983)

Sylvia Wynter-Carew

Radio plays in 1960s
Masquerade (1970) in West Indian Plays for Schools
Trinidad: Dept of Extra-Mural Studies, University of the West Indies, 1979 and in Mixed Company: Three Early Jamaican Plays ed. Yvonne Brewster, Oberon, 2012

Y

Sandra Yaw

Spreading Our Wings (Theatre Centre, 1989)
Zerri’s Choice (Women’s Theatre Group, 1989)

Z

Zindika (Macheol)

Paper & Stone(Black Theatre Co-operative 1989)
Leonora’s Dance (Black Theatre Co-operative 1993) in George, 1993

Devised Work includes:

British Asian Theatre

Anarkali (1986)

Mica Productions

Ain’t I a Woman compiled by Ilona Linthwaite and Marcia Tucker (Oval House, 1985)

Munirah

On the Inside

Options Ltd

Are You My Sister? /Unga Dade Wam?

Vauxhall Manor Girls School

Motherland: West Indian Women to Britain in the
1950s scripted by Elyse Dodgson with Marcia Smith, Vauxhall Manor Girls School, Heinemann, 1984

Slave Girl
Wicked Women

White Women Writers Performed by /Working with Black Companies include:

Elyse Dodgson

Motherland (with Marcia Smith)

Mary Cooper

Work with Asian Co-operative Theatre inc. Heartgame (1988, in Remnant 8)

Ruth Dunlap Bartlett

The Cocoa Party (Black Theatre Co-op, 1986)

Other Black Women Writers Produced in Britain Before 1993 include:

Vinie Burrows, US —

Walk Together Children

Whoopi Goldberg, US –

one woman shows

Lorraine Hansberry –US,

A Raisin in the Sun

Adrienne Kennedy, US –

Funnyhouse of a Negro

Endesha Ida Mae Holland — US

From the Mississippi Delta (Young Vic ,1989)

Elsa Joubert SA

Poppie Nongena, devised based on the novel by
Joubert

Micere Githae-Mugo (& Ngugi Wa Thiongo) KEN

The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (Africa Centre, 1984)

Reduta Deux

devised work

Simone Schwartz-Bart,

Mon Beau Capitaine (Guadelupe Centre of Cultural Action, Institut Francais, London)

Ntozake Shange, –US

for colored girls who have considered suicide, when the rainbow is enuf…
Spell no 7 (Women’s Playhouse Trust, 1985)

Sistren C-JM

Muffet Inna All We

Vusizwe Players SA

You Strike the Woman You Strike the Rock (LIFT, 1987)

BLACK-RUN COMPANIES AND ORGANISATIONS included
Asian Co-operative Theatre
Black Theatre Co-op
Black Theatre Forum
British Asian Theatre
Carib Theatre
Double Edge
Harmony
Hounslow Arts Co-op
L’Ouverture
Minority Arts Advisory Service
ReSisters
Roots
Sassafrass
Staunch Poets and Players
Talawa
Tamasha
Tara Arts
Temba
Theatre of Black Women
Umoja

OTHER COMPANIES PRODUCING SOME BLACK WORK included
Camden United
Clean Break Monstrous Regiment
Royal Court
Royal Court YPT
Second Wave
Theatre Centre
Tricycle Women’s Theatre Group

Anthologies (all published London unless otherwise mentioned)
Brewster, Yvonne, ed. Black Plays 1, Methuen, 1987
Brewster, Yvonne, ed. Black Plays 2, Methuen, 1989
Brewster, Yvonne, ed. Black Plays 3, Methuen, 1993
Dodgson, Elyse ed. First Lines: Young Writers at the Royal Court, Hodder & Stoughton, 1990
George, Khadija ed. Six Plays by Black and Asian Women, Aurora Metro, 1993
Graeae Plays: New Plays Redefining Disability, Aurora Metro, 2002 Gray, Frances, ed. Second Wave Plays: Women at the Albany Empire,
Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press,1990
Hanna, Gillian ed. Monstrous Regiment; A Collective Celebration, Nick Hern Books, 1991
Harwood, Kate, ed. First Run: New Plays by New Writers, NHB, 1989
Harwood, Kate, ed. First Run 2: New Plays by New Writers, NHB, 1990
Mortimer, Jeremy, ed. Young Playwrights Festival 1988, BBC Books, 1988
Osment, Philip, ed. Gay Sweatshop: Four Plays and a Company, Methuen, 1989
Potiki, Roma ed. He Reo Hou: Five Plays by Maori Playwrights Wellington, NZ: Playmarket, 1991
Remnant, Mary, ed. Plays by Women vol 5, Methuen, 1986
Remnant, Mary, ed. Plays by Women vol 8, Methuen, 1990
Sulkin, David ed., Festival Plays, Harlow: Longman, 1986
Sulter, Maud, Passions: Discourses on Blackwomen’s Creativity, Hebden Bridge: Urban Fox Press, 1990
Wandor, Michelene, ed. Plays by Women 4, Methuen, 1985

See: Croft, Susan …She Also Wrote Plays: an International Guide to Women Playwrights from the 10th to the 21st Century (Faber & Faber, 2001) for information on Una Marson (also entries on Cooke, Greer, Kay, Owen, Pinnock, Rudet and others)

Susan Croft, 1993, updated 2020

i This company operated as Sphinx in the 1980s and should not be confused with Women’s Theatre Group, who changed their name to Sphinx in the mid 90s