An Inconvenient Black History…

An Inconvenient Black History…


I am absolutely delighted to have signed Sean Mayes and Sarah K. Whitfield, the authors of An Inconvenient Black History of British Musical Theatre 1900-1950.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a number of extraordinary conversations with Sean and Sarah about this radical and timely work. Disrupting commonly held ideas that Black performance practice was almost non-existent in British theatres prior to Windrush, An Inconvenient History explores how Black creativity and performance practice played a significant role in musical theatre in the first half of the 20th Century and reinstates the work of Black composers, musicians, performers and choreographers as integral to the development of the form.

Sean Mayes is a New York music director active both in New York City and Toronto, with a background in London and the UK. He is an active member of the Broadway music community as a vocal coach, accompanist, orchestrator-arranger and pit musician. He is a part-time Professor in Musical Theatre at Sheridan College, Canada, and has published on the history of music directing and the role of Black music directors on Broadway.

Sarah K. Whitfield is a Senior Lecturer in Musical Theatre at the University of Wolverhampton. Her research focuses on exploring the historiography of musical theatre and recovering the work that women and minoritized groups have done through archival research and digital humanities. She has published widely on collaborative practice in musical theatre, film musicals, and in queer fan studies. Her most recent book is the edited collection: Reframing the Musical: Race, Culture and Identity (2019).

An Inconvenient History of Black British Musical Theatre 1900-1950 is published by Methuen Drama for Bloomsbury and is now available to pre-order.

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