Ginni Arnold | 02 Nov 2023

Bloomsbury today released its (Incomplete) Lit in Colour Play List aiming to introduce new plays that will support schools to create more representative and inclusive drama experiences within the English and Drama curricula. The (Incomplete) Lit in Colour Play List launches with 57 plays from an eventual 172 and will be updated and published annually, and forms part of the wider Lit in Colour campaign by Penguin and The Runnymede Trust founded in 2020. It is the foundation for a programme based on a single question posed to Bloomsbury by a teacher: Can you recommend a play by a writer of colour?

Curated by Bloomsbury’s Advisory Board, Pooja Ghai, mezze eade and Hannah Khalil, and compiled in collaboration with Faber and Nick Hern Books, The (Incomplete) Lit in Colour Play List represents an agnostic approach from the three leading play publishers in the UK.

Research from Bloomsbury last year set out to understand what teachers and students require in order to study the work of more diverse playwrights, and what might be getting in their way. With the right support and resources, 84% of survey respondents said they would likely choose a new drama text for GCSE English Literature.

The (Incomplete) Lit in Colour Play List features one play from each playwright selected, and information giving teachers an overview of the synopsis and themes. It also includes suggestions of other plays to allow students to dig deeper into a playwright’s work. All plays are suitable for study with secondary school students aged 11-18 and include highlighted plays that feature on exam boards’ set text lists. Plays listed are able to supplement set text lists and most would make excellent non-exam assessment (NEA) text performance options or could be used for devising and textual exploration.

Artistic Director at Tamasha Theatre Company

Pooja Ghai

It is brilliant that we now have this resource which acts as a gateway to the rich and textured perspectives of Global Majority writers. It has been like sifting through a treasure chest of life, full of imagination, history, wisdom and knowledge. This resource helps bridge the gap between the education and cultural sectors, introducing teachers, students and theatre makers at all levels of their careers to explore playwrights from the Global Majority. There is something here for everyone.

Editorial Director of Drama

Margaret Bartley

We feel passionately about the importance of drama as a genre of study at KS3, GCSE and A Level as well as in the younger years, so we want to bring our unique focus on drama texts through the Lit in Colour campaign to help move the curriculum forward. There are so many plays to choose from that it is inevitable this list must always be incomplete and must always be updated to provide the best and comprehensive resource for educators.

This built on research from Penguin and the Runnymede Trust which found that less than 1% of young people study a book by a writer of colour at GCSE. This research also highlighted that An Inspector Calls written by J.B Priestly in 1945 is the most studied play within the Modern Set Text offering of the English literature GCSE.

The publication of this Play List follows on from the annual publication of Penguin Books’s (Incomplete) Lit in Colour Book Lists, featuring books published by a wide range of authors of colour for primary, secondary and early years. The Lists are ‘incomplete’ because the campaign believes there can never be a definitive or exhaustive list of texts by writers of colour. Instead, the (Incomplete) Lists aim to bring together over 100 different texts by writers of colour from different publishers to support teachers’ subject knowledge but also make it easier to find great texts to use in their teaching.

Bloomsbury have also supported the Lit in Colour Pioneers Pilot programme for the past three years, helping schools in diversifying their GCSE and A Level English Literature curriculum. Bloomsbury has donated thousands of copies of set texts by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers, including The Empress by Tanika Gupta, Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah, adapted for the stage by Lemn Sissay, Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Other supporting publishers include Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Hachette, Nick Hern Books, Serpents Tail, and Concord Theatricals.

To further support schools with teaching these play texts, Bloomsbury have created additional teaching resources including hosting live online ‘In Conversation’ events for students to have the opportunity to ask the playwrights questions, classroom posters and discussion guides to further aid teaching.

Media enquiries: to Ginni Arnold, Head of Corporate Communications at Bloomsbury on [email protected] or 07968730247.

Explore more news

See more

Free UK delivery for orders £30 and over