By Lynette Goddard

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Thatcherite discourse promoted a completely different ethos, premised on every individual’s potential to work hard enough to achieve high goals and personal success. Where the Labour government recognised inequality and the advantages that some groups had over others, the Conservative Party claim was premised on the belief that everyone was an individual; thus all were equally capable of success. Such ideals lessen the need for specialist interest groups; under Thatcherite principles there is no need for a separate black women’s theatre as black women are simply individuals along with everyone else.

Despite the efforts of women’s theatre companies and theatre venues, there are still limited spaces for black women’s theatre, which is produced at the whim of institutions that might have a particular (financial, aesthetic or political) investment in certain images that could impede the production of black feminist work. The recent history of British theatre shows evidence of the continued marginalisation of black women, even during the 1980s flourish when most of the black plays produced were by male dramatists and race was pinpointed as the main site for a struggle against white dominance within the industry.

4), but ‘[o]f the 125 theatres invited, less than a quarter attended, with the vast majority not responding to the invitation’ (5). The Eclipse report highlighted that institutional racism affects all levels of theatre production (from casting to programming) in British regional theatres and aimed to develop strategies to bring the theatre closer to reflecting multi-racial British culture, both through the types of plays that are presented and in terms of ‘colour blind’ casting and employment. The recommendations suggested strategies designed to overturn assumptions of certain types of work as high risk, encourage new audiences to the theatre and monitor the demographic organisation of black and Asian theatre workers.

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