HC Deb 24 April 1896 vol 39 c1637

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Licenser of Plays has refused to license a drama entitled "Joseph of Canaan," written by the Rev. George Walters and Mr. George Rignold; whether he is aware that this drama was played for several weeks in Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, and the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, and that no objection was raised by either the press or the public; is he aware that a religious drama, "The Sign of the Cross," has been licensed and performed for over 100 nights in a London theatre; and could he state to the House what is the principle that determines the action of the Licenser of Plays in connection with dramas based on religious motives or incidents?


I am informed by the Examiner of Plays that the Lord Chamberlain has refused to license for representation the play to which the hon. Member refers, and that it was rejected in accordance with the unvarying practice, which is to refuse to license any play avowedly adapted from Scripture. I understand that this reason would not apply to "The Sign of the Cross." I have no knowledge as to the reception of either play.

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