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Black British 21st Century Playwrights

Discussion in 'English' started by andrewdyer_rhul, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. andrewdyer_rhul

    andrewdyer_rhul New commenter

    Can anyone recommend any plays by black British writers that they know/think would work for teaching at Year 9? Preferably ones which are from the last 20 years.

    I would love to have done 'Nine Night' by Natasha Gordon but there is swearing on the first page.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Face by Benjamin Zephaniah and Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman have both been adapted into plays. Or are you not keen on adaptations?
    roamingteacher likes this.
  3. HRo5

    HRo5 New commenter

    Kwame Kwei-Armah springs to mind with all the stage work he has done (Elmina's Kitchen).
    roamingteacher likes this.
  4. andrewdyer_rhul

    andrewdyer_rhul New commenter

    Yeah, we'd prefer to avoid adaptions of novels so that they get a real understanding of drama in its own right. They've all read Zephaniah and the Noughts&Crosses by the time they get to Y9, which is good.

    I'd love to do Elmina's Kitchen but the language is too salty for Y9 (29 f***s as far as I can tell from Google Books). This seems to be a problem with teaching so many modern plays.

    Has anyone read/seen/taught 'Sucker Punch' by Roy Williams? I know that there is a little bit of effin' and jeffin' but perhaps not that bad?
  5. HRo5

    HRo5 New commenter

    I've just looked that up - thank you for letting me know about it. I shall dig deeper.

    As far as modern literature containing more profanity - surely it can be seen as a sign of the times? I'm not championing the cause of profanity being 'taught' but the question needs to be asked surely if there is more profanity, what does that indicate? It could open up debate with the older years. (After all we teach Romeo and Juliet and their "naked swords"! and other salty Shakespearean language)

    Coincidentally my school is switching to Othello (before the current BLM protests) so it should raise interesting points of debate.

    I'm also looking for more inclusive teaching material. Thank you all.
  6. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    Barber Shop Chronicles by Inua Ellams was on at the National a couple of years ago and is fantastic. They featured it on their at home YouTube channel a couple of weeks ago, so you can probably still see some clips on there to get a taste of it. It's a brilliant piece of theatre. There's plenty of ****** and jeffing, but I don't see the issue - it's not as if the kids don't know these words exist! Most modern literature for teens these days contains swearing and what, certainly twenty years ago when I was a teenager, would have been considered totally inappropriate graphic sexual content. Times change, society changes, language changes, standards, expectations and norms change. I do think it's snobbish and out of date to keep perpetuating this idea that swearing isn't legitimate language usage and something to 'protect' children from. It's a very exclusionary, white middle class world view of what is 'acceptable' English and what isn't - trying to erase swearing from what you teach isn't really in the spirit of encouraging diversity!
  7. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    I wonder if you might be able to find bowdlerised versions of these texts - the stage version of The Curious Incident... has lots of swearing in it, but the student version we use in school has had the vast majority excised.
  8. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    The Curious Incident by Mark Haddon?
  9. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Yes, though we teach the playscript by Simon Stephens. (Obviously NOT a black British playwright!)
  10. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    Ah right. I wondered why you posted on this thread. Thought I was missing something about the playwright being black. Phew.

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