More information on the Black Theatre Forum archive

Artistic projects overview

For nearly two decades, the Black Theatre Forum represented a dynamic multiracial arena where Black theatre aesthetics and politics were creatively explored, pointing to new directions in the production of Black performance. As a co-ordinating body of 17 Black theatre companies, it also functioned as producer of the Black Theatre Seasons - a festival organised in the West End during the 1980s that aimed to de-marginalise Black British theatre and move it to central London venues. Across its six Seasons, it represented an invaluable showcase for Black talent, producing 19 plays, all of which were written, directed and performed by leading Black artists. In addition to the Seasons, the organisation ran numerous workshops and seminars that focused on new writing, performance techniques and administration.  It also organised two major national conferences, of which Future Histories, held at the South Bank Centre in 1995, attracted over 200 delegates.


The Black Theatre Seasons represented the main artistic activity of the organisation in its early years. Apart from the companies, which were part of the Forum, the Black Theatre Forum worked in conjunction with a number of external companies and artists during its existence. Workshops in various areas of the performing arts, together with other activities such as play readings and youth theatre initiatives, were produced by the Black Theatre Forum after the end of the Seasons in 1990. Production records document the activities of artists, theatre directors and participants involved in the Black Theatre Forum's productions.


Record keeping and general administration were operated by different administrators and co-ordinators over the years. Amongst the co-ordinators of the Forum were: Anton Phillips (1984 – 1987), Paul Mars (1988 – 1990), Mary Jeremiah (1991 – 1994), Oscar Watson (1995 – 1996), Delroy Williams (1997 – 1998), Ameena Maria McConnell (1998 – 2001). Files include daily correspondence, reports, minutes, funding applications, financial records, development and general administration. Funding came from various sources but mainly from the London Arts Board (LAB).