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 Topic: homosexuality and British Theatre

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aka.alisa  



Joined: 24 Oct 2007
Posts: 2
Interests: theatre, film, literature
Physical Location: Europe

Posted: 24 Oct 2007, 7:30 am    Post subject: homosexuality and British Theatre Reply with quote

Hi everyone,
any idea in which was the first British play featuring an openly homosexual protagonist? I think it may be "A Song of Twilight" by Noel Coward (1968), but I would be deeply grateful to learn about earlier plays. ( I am currently writing my PhD thesis on queerness in British drama before 1968 and so I'm grateful for any queerness-theatre related hints....)
cheers, alisa
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ginpit  



Joined: 08 Oct 2008
Posts: 1
Interests: Literary, fine, applied, decorative and performing arts; and all that which a person concerned with the State of the World needs to be aware of
Physical Location: UK

Posted: 15 Oct 2008, 8:55 am    Post subject: Re: homosexuality and British Theatre Reply with quote

aka.alisa wrote:
Hi everyone,
any idea in which was the first British play featuring an openly homosexual protagonist? I think it may be "A Song of Twilight" by Noel Coward (1968), but I would be deeply grateful to learn about earlier plays. ( I am currently writing my PhD thesis on queerness in British drama before 1968 and so I'm grateful for any queerness-theatre related hints....)
cheers, alisa


Depends what you mean by 'openly'. Mordaunt Shairp's 'The Green Bay Tree' (1933) is generally cited as the first British play to feature a gay character (in modern terms), although this is not made explicit in the dialogue. Check Shairp out on this very site, together with a most interesting account of J.R. Ackerley's earlier 1925 'Prisoners of War'.

If by 'openly' you mean obvious even to Aunt Edna, then perhaps we have to go to Shelagh Delaney's 'A Taste of Honey' (written 1956, staged 1958), although Geoffrey does not strictly qualify as the protoganist. Redl, however, in John Osborne's 'A Patriot for Me' (1965) certainly does, out (where it matters) and proud, or should I say, careless.

You have probably long completed your thesis, but I am a newcomer to this site and have only just read your post. I could probably dredge up some other examples if need be, but these plays immediately came to mind.
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ginpit
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