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African American Theatre
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511883644)

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  • Printed version published June 1994
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A landmark work in the study of Black theater and drama, African American Theatre offers the first comprehensive history of a major cultural phenomenon until now too often neglected. In this fast-paced investigation, Hay seeks out the origins of Black theater in social protest, as envisioned by W.E.B. Dubois, and as a formal branch of arts theater. Divided between these opposing forces--the activist and the artistic--Black theater, Hay argues, faced conflicts of identity whose traces still haunt the medium today. African American Theatre thus offers a means of locating Black theater in the larger context of American theater and in the continuum of African American history from the nineteenth century to the present--and in doing so offers a profile of dramatic expression shaped and scarred by the forces of repression, of self-affirmation, and of subversion. Sweeping in scope, original in approach and provocatively written, this important book mines the origins and influences directing Black theater, while charting a course for its future survival.


Acknowledgments; Introduction; The black experience school of drama; The black arts school of drama; Theatre people: some splendid examples; The governance of theatre organisations; Development; Conclusion; Appendices.


"...Hay's book is a significant contribution to the growing scholarship on African American theatre history. It highlights, in addition, African Americans' contributions to American theatre as a whole. Its clear writing style and jargon-free language greatly enhance its merit as a teching and research resource for both the specialized reader and the general public." American Studies

"Without a doubt, BTN member Samuel A. Hay's text, African American Theatre: An Historical and Critical Analysis, must be hailed as a milestone in Black Theatre scholarship....the text is a must for any credible American Theatre scholar or critic. Our academic colleagues no longer have an excuse for omitting a serious study of African American dramatic literature, aesthetics, criticism, and practice from their courses." BTNews

"This is another valuable addition to the 'Cambridge Studies in American Theatre and Drama' series, under the excellent editorship of Don Wilmeth." Choice

"...a step toward the recovery of African American theater and its inclusion in the study of American literature....Hay's work is invaluable...." Christine R. Gray, Theatre Survey

"...a lively and comprehensive history of the field and a clarion call to arms on behalf of it." Judie Newman, Journal of American Studies

"...Hay's theories are provocative and stimulating and his sweep through history provides impressive support for his claims....the book gives us a common language for analysis and provides those crucial details that make history more than a list of dates." Joni Jones, Drama Review

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