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Joint Select Committee on Stage Plays (Censorship)

As a new century began, the question of theatre censorship was raised once again. A campaign for change was supported by leading literary figures. In 1907, a letter published in The Times stated their aims, among the signatures was Thomas Hardy & George Bernard-Shaw. Momentum was generated by the letter with a Parliamentary Committee beginning proceedings into the matter, chaired by Liberal MP, Herbert Samuel. If the abolition of the office was unfeasible the Committee sought to appoint an Examiner of Plays whose practices were more attuned to modern sensibilities. The Committee failed in making any statutory gains because of the support that the Lord Chamberlain still retained with theatre managers who feared losing their licences on grounds of indecency. In defeat, the dramatical glitterati performed with great eloquence, as J. M. Barrie digressed to the Committee, 'Censorship makes our drama a more puerile thing in the life of a nation and is a stigma on all who write plays'.

1909 Joint Select Committee on Stage Plays (Censorship



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