Letter from Lord Chamberlain's Office regarding cuts to Edward Bond's play Saved

Letter from Lord Chamberlain's Office regarding cuts to Edward Bond's play Saved

Saved by Edward Bond was commissioned by the Royal Court Theatre in 1964. It is set in the cramped, urban environment of South London and shows the effects of an act of violence (the stoning of a baby) on a group of ordinary people. All plays at that time still had to be checked and sanctioned by the Lord Chamberlain. William Gaskill, the director at the Royal Court, knew from the outset that Bond’s play would not be passed and recommended that Bond cut out the swear words and sexual references in the hope that the violent scenes, which were integral to the play, would be allowed. Bond refused to do this, or to cut two scenes which the Lord Chamberlain refused to permit. Eventually, the play was produced as a club performance for members of the English Stage Society in 1965. (Private clubs were not subject to censorship laws as technically they did not give public performances.) The outraged response to the play brought the arguments about censorship to a head, and in 1968 the law was changed and censorship ceased.