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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…

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