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Censorship with English PEN & Royal Court Theatre

September 28, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm BST


In 1968, the Royal Court Theatre helped bring about the abolition of the Lord Chamberlain’s censorship powers. But even today, 50 years later, we continue to be challenged by the complexities of freedom of political expression and self-censorship.

This panel discussion explores how artists and programmers continue to reconcile truth-telling with genuine political jeopardy and contemporary cultural politics, both nationally and internationally.

Panellists will include Anthony Burton (chair, Royal Court Theatre), Anthony Neilson (playwright and director) and Anna Wakulik (playwright). The event will be chaired by Ritula Shah.

The event, co-hosted by The Royal Court Theatre, is part of this year’s Banned Books Week UK, a week long celebration of the freedom to read.

Friday 28 September, 5:30 pm6:30 pm

Anthony Burton CBE
A partner with Simons Muirhead and Burton Solicitors, Anthony Burton CBE is a Criminal Lawyer. He has been the lawyer to the Royal Court Theatre for over 30 years and its Chairman for 10 years. During this time he has been involved in advising the theatre on various censorship issues as well as acting in a number of cases.  He is Chair of the Death Penalty Project which promotes and protects the rights of those facing the death penalty worldwide. He was a Recorder of the Crown Court for 20 years, and a Council member of  the all party organisation Justice and Trustee of the Heart of England Forest. The forest was created by his late client Felix Dennis of the OZ magazine trial fame. He was awarded the CBE in 2012 for his services to theatre.

Anthony Neilson
For the Royal Court: The Prudes, Unreachable, The Get Out, Narrative, Get Santa!, Relocated, The Wonderful World of Dissocia (& National Theatre of Scotland), Heredity, The Lying Kind, The Censor.

Other theatre includes: Realism (National Theatre of Scotland); Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness (Headlong/Drum, Plymouth); Stitching (Traverse/Bush); The Night Before Christmas, (The Red Room), Normal (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Penetrator (Traverse).

Film includes: The Debt Collector, Deeper Still.

Awards include: Critics’ Award for Theatre in Scotland, TMA Award for Best Production (The Wonderful World of Dissocia); Time Out Award for Best Fringe Production, Writers Guild Award for Best Play (The Censor); Time Out Award for Best Off West End Production (Stitching).

Ritula Shah
Ritula Shah is a journalist and broadcaster. She is currently the main presenter of the World Tonight, BBC Radio 4’s main evening news programme, which has a focus on international affairs. She’s presented the programme from countries including Brazil, Jordan, India, China, the US, Finland and Germany. Ritula has chaired events on international issues at a number of think tanks and universities, including Chatham House, Carnegie Tsinghua  Centre Beijing, the Asia Society in San Francisco and Kings College London. She’s a trustee of the International Institute for the Visual Arts and an ambassador for the British Asian Trust.

Anna Wakulik
Anna Wakulik is a Polish playwright, currently a dramaturg associated with Teatr Dramatyczny, Warsaw. Her play Zażynki (A Time to Reap, translated by Catherine Grosvenor) was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 2013, directed by Caroline Steinbeis. The play was nominated for a London Evening Standard Theatre Award, and received the Journalist’s Prize in Teatr Polski Poznań’s playwriting contest Metafory Rzeczywistości, and was shortlisted for the All Poland Staged Contemporary Play Contest [Ogólnopolski Konkurs na Wystawienie Polskiej Sztuki Współczesnej]), and Bohaterowie (Heroes) (Teatr im. L. Solskiego, Tarnów, dir. Ewelina Pietrowiak). It was also performed at Teatr Polski, Poznań.

From 2012 to 2014 she was the Literary Manager at Teatr im. L. Solskiego, Tarnów. She was the Press Secretary at Teatr Atelier im. A. Osieckiej, Sopot, from 2006 to 2009.

She was a finalist for the Gdynia Dramaturgy Award (Gdyńska Nagroda Dramaturgiczna) multiple times: in 2010 for her play Krzywy domek (Crooked House), in 2014 for Wasza wysokość (Your Highness), in 2015 for Dziki Zachód (The Sentence), and in 2016 for Błąd wewnętrzny (Internal Error). Her other awards and nominations include: 2009 finalist for her text Sans Souci in Teatr Polski Poznań’s playwriting contest Metafory Rzeczywistości; 2011 winner of Teatr Wybrzeże’s playwriting contest for Elżbieta H. (Elizabeth H.).

She has been published in the dramaturgical monthly Dialog (Dialogue) (including the plays Sans Souci, Elżbieta H., Zażynki, Wasza wysokość, Dziki Zachód). She was a Grant Recipient of the Polish Ministry of Culture and Cultural Heritage in 2013. She also taught creative writing at Collegium Civitas, Szkoła Dramatu, and the Warsaw School of Photography and Graphic Design.

An English PEN and Royal Court event, as part of #BannedBooksWeek


September 28, 2018
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Sloane Square, Chelsea
London, SW1W 8AS United Kingdom
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