Date: 1907

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Theater

Artist: Harley Granville Barker

Confronting Bodies: British Examiner of Plays and members of the Parliament.

Dates of Action: 1907

Location: England

Description of Artwork: Barker's play, Waste, is about an English bureaucrat who designs a bill to disestablish the Church of England. The main character has an affair with a married woman, impregnates her and alludes to her death by not helping her procure an abortion. The main character is eventually fired and commits suicide.

The Incident: British film censors refused the play because of the references to the operation, the abortion and the political setting. Waste was banned before its first public performance in 1907. The Examiner of Plays refused to issue a license to Barker after witnessing a private performance.

Results of Incident: The initial ban set off an anti-censorship campaign in which 71 British directors appealed to Parliament to change censorship laws and create a joint committee on censorship. The ban on "Waste" was repealed in 1936.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones