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A History of African American Theatre
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  • 43 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 632 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.15 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 792/.089/96073
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: PN2270.A35 H55 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • African American theater--History
    • American drama--African American authors--History and criticism
    • African Americans--Intellectual life

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521624435 | ISBN-10: 0521624436)

This is the first definitive history of African-American theatre. The text embraces a wide geography investigating companies from coast to coast as well as the anglophone Caribbean and African-American companies touring Europe, Australia, and Africa. This history represents a catholicity of styles - from African ritual born out of slavery to European forms, from amateur to professional. It covers nearly two and a half centuries of black performance and production with issues of gender, class, and race ever in attendance. The volume encompasses aspects of performance such as minstrel, vaudeville, cabaret acts, musicals and opera. Shows by white playwrights that used black casts, particularly in music and dance, are included, as are productions of western classics and a host of Shakespeare plays. The breadth and vitality of black theatre history, from the individual performance to large-scale company productions, from political nationalism to integration, is conveyed in this volume.

• First and only definitive history of African-American theatre • Demonstrates the influence that black and white peformances have had on each other • Winner of many awards, including CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles (2005), and the Barnard Hewitt Award for Excellence in Theatre History (2004)


List of illustrations; Foreword Lloyd G. Richards; Preface James V. Hatch; Acknowledgments; List of abbreviations; Introduction Errol G. Hill; 1. Slavery and conquest: background to black theatre Errol G. Hill; 2. The African Theatre to Uncle Tom's Cabin Erroll G. Hill; 3. The Civil War to The Creole Show Errol G. Hill; 4. The American minstrelsy in black and white James V. Hatch; 5. New vistas: plays, spectacles, musicals, and opera Errol G. Hill; 6. The struggle continues Errol G. Hill and James V. Hatch; 7. The Harlem Renaissance James V. Hatch; 8. Educational theatre James V. Hatch and Errol G. Hill; 9. The Caribbean connection Errol G. Hill; 10. The Great Depression and Federal Theatre James V. Hatch; 11. Creeping toward integration James V. Hatch; 12. From Hansberry to Shange James V. Hatch; 13. The Millennium James V. Hatch; Appendix: Theatre scholarship at the year 2002; Bibliography; Index.

Prize Winner

Theatre Library Association's George Freedley Memorial Award 2003 - Winner

Barnard Hewitt Award - Winner

Outstanding Academic Title 2005 - Winner


'The complete historical reference for the African American theatre lover.' Family Digest Magazine

'Though many mourn the recent loss of Errol Hill, he and Hatch leave a lasting legacy with his valuable and comprehensive history … Both Hill and Hatch have already been instrumental in providing extensive scholarship and criticism of African American theater and drama, and this volume broadens that investigation … The book clarifies the reality that African American contributions to theater can no longer be ignored or relegated to 'token paragraphs.' Essential.' Choice

'Impressive in scope, this magesterial history of the hardships and achievements of black creators of theatre in America takes the reader from the early 1400s origins of the African slave trade to events-in-progress at certain theatres in the spring of 2001, includes theatrical forms like minstrelsy and vaudeville, and looks at African American theatre in cities all across the United States as well as in the Caribbean … A History of African American Theatre surely takes its place as our definitive work on the subject.' Theatre History Studies

'Now is the time for this book. … To read A History of African American Theatre is exhilarating and exhausting; its scope encompasses everything that avows even a peripheral connection to the theatre, ranging from African ritual to European forms, from playwrights to critics. … Hatch and Hill approach the historical material, regardless if it covers the background to slavery, the Great Depression, or educational theatre, with enthusiasm.' N. Graham Nesmith

'… they have done a fantastic job of documenting the information in an accessible study that offers insights into contributors to black theatre movements from slavery to the thirdmillennium … I could really do no justice by listing what is included here, the coverage is so vast … a worthy contribution to academic knowledge and an invaluable resource.' Journal of New Theatre Quarterly


Lloyd G. Richards, James V. Hatch, Errol G. Hill

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