Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

New Theatre and the State: The Ban on Till the Day I Die, 1936-41

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (2001), 80, (1), 1–19.

Abstract

It is generally believed that the Commonwealth Government’s efforts to ban public performances of Clifford Odet’s play "Till the Day I Die" in 1936 were a response to objections by the German consul and that its policy was an aspect of appeasement. In this paper it is suggested that the government’s response was not determined by the consul’s protest but by its own desire to curb the activities of the Communist Party. The paper aims to show that the main objections to the play were its communist propaganda content and its presentation by New Theatre, a party front; that several other complaints of anti-German sentiment in films and plays made by the consul were not acted upon; and that the movers in the affair were not politicians but key figures in the Commonwealth Investigation Branch and their allies in other Commonwealth and state security agencies.

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Author details

Darby, Robert

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