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Joint Committee on Theatre Censorship

Theatre censorship had existed since the sixteenth century, and a 1737 Act appointed the Lord Chamberlain as official licenser of plays and regulated restrictions on drama. Little changed regarding the censorship of plays with the passing of the 1843 Theatres Act, which was still in place over 100 years later.

In 1966, a Joint Committee of both Houses was established. It took evidence from people in the theatre business, including Peter Hall, Kenneth Tynan and Benn Levy. The committee was concerned with freedom of speech in plays and on the stage. Playwright John Osborne gave evidence and in this letter he gives his argument for the abolition of censorship.  Theatre censorship was finally abolished in 1968, providing an end to restrictions which had been in place for over 200 years.


Joint Committee on Theatre Censorship



Catalogue number

Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/JT/TC/1