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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

During the Georgian era, London’s theatre practitioners seized the opportunity to dramatize stories of slave conflict, rebellion, and resistance in strange and exciting ways. The discourses emerging from the British colonies together with major advances in stage technologies facilitated the creation of a sophisticated and complicated theatrical idiom for staging scenes of slavery. As a result, the Georgian stage offered audiences a glimpse into the colonies of Surinam, Gambia, Jamaica, and Barbados. But these artists were not anti-slavery activists. Rather, they re-commodified the profitability of slavery into a piece of entertainment that enabled the commercial theatrical market to flourish. This essay unpacks some of the pivotal moments in which dramatic discourses, including theatre ephemera, collided with reports of slave resistance in order to re-examine how the theatre contributed to Britain’s views on race and slavery during the Georgian period.

Keywords: slavery, rebellion, resistance, theatre, Obi, emancipation

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