The Black Theatre Forum (BTF) was formed in 1985 as an umbrella organisation of African, Caribbean and Asian theatre companies, aimed at stimulating the development of Black theatre in Britain, attracting wider audiences, and helping to create the conditions for greater equality of opportunity. The networking vocation of this theatre organisation, and the wide range of its past activities makes the Black Theatre Forum archive a vital resource in the study of Black theatre in Britain.
The rich history of the Forum resulted in a unique store of historical material. However, the closure of the Black Theatre Forum office in 1998 forced the board of directors to split up the archive, and distribute it among different storage places. Between 1998 and 2002 Jeremy Conlon, Ameena M. McConnell, Mel Jennings, John Shevon, Jenny Bernard, and Shabaka Thompson at the Yaa Asantewa Centre kindly hosted the content of the archive keeping its integrity; yet, it was not always possible to maintain its original structure. Extra material, related to the Black Theatre Seasons, was collected by Dr Alda Terracciano as part of the Re-membering Black Performance project. The material contained in the archive dates from the late 1970s to the late 1990s. It consists of the Black Theatre Seasons records, including scripts, publicity material, leaflets, posters, press cuttings, photographs, audiotapes / soundcues from some productions - and related correspondence, financial documents and minutes of meetings. The collection also includes business records of the organisation; information on conferences; Black cultural events, workshops and projects organised by the Black Theatre Forum and other Black organisations; publicity and information on various Black theatre companies; newspaper cuttings on Black theatre from mid 1970s to 1990 and a large number of theatre manuscripts. Most of the archive (95%) is paper based, but there are also photographs and a few reel-to-reel and cassette audiotapes.