Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And now we present: Black Drama, Second Edition!

Black Drama, Second Edition is the fourth of our new drama database series from Alexander Street Press. This database contains the work of more than 200 playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries. 1,379 plays are published here in their entirety. More than 25% of these plays are published here for the first time, including some by such notable writers as Langston Hughes, Ed Bullins, Willis Richardson, Alice Childress, Amiri Baraka, Randolph Edmonds, Zora Neale Hurston, among others. Many other works included here are rare or out-of-print.

The collection, covering works from 1850 to the present, contains works from the Federal Theatre Project (1935-1939) and writings from the Harlem Renaissance period, as well as works from the Black Arts movement of the sixties and seventies and plays performed by the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BARTS), The Negro Ensemble Company, and other companies. Detailed production information is included, along with photographs and playbills.

Playwrights featured in this database come from many parts of the world, including Ghana, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, the West Indies and the UK. Their topics and tones vary widely from musical comedy to domestic dramas. While social issues are strongly represented, they include slavery, civil rights, desegregation, colonialism and African history, and reflect a wide range of ideologies.

The database's editorial advisor is noted playwright and historian James Vernon Hatch, who was the curator of the Hatch-Billops collection of black drama, a not-for-profit research library in New York.

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