Latest Issue

Censorship is back on the British stage

Nude hippies onstage in London may no longer raise eyebrows, but today’s directors and playwrights face a more challenging form of censorship

By John Nathan   April 2010

Hair, performed in London in 1969, announced a new theatrical era. But today naked hippies don’t make headlines

On 26th September 1968, Britain abandoned theatre censorship. After 231 years of making some of the barmiest decisions known to man, the lord chamberlain was stripped of his power to censor any play wishing to be licensed for public performance. The next day, the first Broadway production of the musical Hair opened in London. With its rock anthems and nude hippies, no show could have better illustrated that a new theatrical era had arrived.

As shown in the book Politics, Prudery and…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect