Censored: Readings from Banned Books and More was first produced at the former John Houseman Theatre in New York City in 1991, under the auspices of The National Coalition Against Censorship, with Judy Blume as advisor. Actors included such luminaries as Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach. The production also ran at The Church Street Theatre in Washington D.C. and at Steppenwolf in Chicago with Studs Terkel in the cast. These productions were in response to a prior wave of book banning that took place decades ago — before the most recent wave started in 2021.
The actors bring the audience into key moments in the battle against censorship. We start with the early Puritan days – the Puritans were happy to practice freedom of religion as long as it was their religion. Then we progress through the “Scopes Monkey Trial” – where high school teacher John Scopes is on trial in 1925 for teaching evolution in the state of Tennessee, where it remains illegal to teach until 1967! We read from books that have been and are being banned, and explore the increasingly draconian penalties teachers and librarians are facing as they stand up to organized censorship groups such as Moms for Liberty.
As poet laureate Rita Dove said at a recent event in Lenox: “The object of book banning is not to ban books but to ban culture.”
Join us for a whirlwind tour of censored materials, art forms, and historical trends. See how earlier waves of censorship have morphed into the present, to threaten the most basic freedoms we cherish. A community talk-back will be held after the reading. Don’t miss this important event!
Followed by an Audience Talk-Back. Portion of proceeds go to the Richmond Record.
An entertaining romp through past and present Censorship in the US.