The V&A’s Theatre and Performance collections contain a large number of resources on the history of Black performance, including theatre, music and dance.
Black Performance in Britain before 1800
There are references to African performers in Edinburgh dating from 1505, and it is also recorded that the court of Henry VII employed a ‘Black Trumpete’ for the sum of eight pence a day - an image of him appears in the painted roll of the Westminster tournament of 1511.
Black & Asian Performance - A Users' Guide
'Black and Asian Performance at the Theatre Museum - A User's Guide' was the V&A Theatre Collections’ first major step in bringing its collections on the vital history of black performance to life. It was published in 2003, but still provides a useful introduction to relevant material within our collections.
Theatre & Performance
The Theatre and Performance collection was founded in the 1920s when a private collector, Gabrielle Enthoven, donated her extensive collection of theatrical designs, memorabilia, books and photographs to the Museum. Since then the collection has continued to grow and has provided a home for many other significant objects and archives. All areas of the live performing arts are represented in the collections, documenting both current practice and the history of the performing arts in the UK.