Across America, books are disappearing from classrooms and library shelves- but it isn't stopping there. The censorship of stories has begun to impact our stages; often targeting artists of already marginalized communities.
Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in libraries, bookstores, and schools. To recognize Banned Books Week, Plays for New Audiences put together a list of plays based on stories that have been banned throughout time.
Named the 6th top banned book of 2020, this book was one of many racialized books banned and challenged that year, following the protests related to the murder of George Floyd.
When a Black man is killed by a white police officer, Josh and Emma have real questions that deserve real answers. By following the conversations of these two families, one white and one Black, we discover that the answers to those questions don’t come easily. This show invites you to walk alongside Josh and Emma as they confront uncertainty within their own town and seek to plant the seeds of change in their community.
Banned for containing elements that are shocking and obscene depictions of blood and gore.
Based on Bram Stoker’s dark tale, this faithful, fast-moving adaptation tells the story of Dracula’s ultimate demise. The play begins with the arrival of Jonathon Harker at the home of Count Dracula in Transylvania. Unaware of Dracula’s evil and bloody lifestyle, Harker sets forth the sale of an estate in London to Dracula, and opens the door to Dracula’s reign of terror in Harker’s homeland. As Dracula moves on to his new estate, he leaves Harker behind as a meal for the horrible creatures that dwell at his Transylvanian home.
Banned for encouraging bad behavior!
Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?
Like many others, Strega Nona was banned for depicting magic, witchcraft, and witches in a positive light.
Strega Nona, the beloved ‘Grandma Witch’ of Calabria, needs help so she hires the first person to apply: Big Anthony, a tall, clumsy new guy in town. Bambolona, the Baker’s daughter is feed up with doing all of the work at the bakery, so she leaves and convinces Strega Nona to teach her magic. Big Anthony wants to learn magic too, and when he’s told no he gets mad and tries to learn it by eavesdropping. Oh Anthony! He turns people into toads, he makes himself handsome for the town dance and then has to run for his life, but his biggest mistake is the overflowing pasta pot taking over the town!
Cited for portraying "middle class rabbits" with "too much privilege," this classic tale was banned from London classrooms in the 1980's.
Peter is an explorer who always seems to get into trouble. He goes where he is not supposed to, and often runs off alone. Sometimes the temptation of going into Mr. McGregor’s garden is just too much for him. Join Peter, his sisters, and friends on an adventure!
Banned for the diminished stature of authority figures and attributing human traits to animals.
This classic tale of rabbit holes and wonder has been loved by generations, and next season CTC brings it back to for a fully re-imagined production. From the Mad Hatter’s tea party to the Cheshire grin, Alice’s adventures in Wonderland are unique, captivating and, in Alice’s own words, curiouser and curiouser! Lewis Carroll’s classic will come to life with all the magic, mystery and mischief of the original novel.
Click here for a full list of plays based on stories that have been banned. You may even find some sneak peeks of new stories that will be available for licensing in the future!