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The Naked Controversy

Advert from local paper April 1970
Advert from local paper April 1970

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet played at the Connaught between April 21st and May 2nd 1970, and with it came with a wealth of controversy.

The stage director Robert English announced that in one scene of his staging of this classic play, Susan Penhaligon and Michael Mackenzie would appear naked.

This was only eighteen months after any censorship by the Lord Chamberlin had come to an end, which had permitted shows such as ‘Hair’ and ‘Oh, Calcutta!’ to feature nudity.

But after the announcement… All hell broke loose! 

The national and local press went to town, as this advert in a local paper shows.

As a side note, the show went ahead, and Susan Penhaligon’s grandmother saw the notorious production. She soon complained that she was disappointed at not having been able to see more of Romeo.