The Romans in Britain



  • A play by Howard Brenton, which in 1980 caused one of thegreatest controversies in the history of the National Theatre. The playincluded a scene between nude actors, in which a group of druids werebuggered by Roman centurions. This resulted in the Greater London Councilthreatening to reduce its grant to the National Theatre, inquiries byScotland Yard, and a private prosecution of the director, MichaelBogdanov, for procuring an act of gross indecency. The case,which had been brought by the morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse, was eventually dropped. The play also caused political outrage by drawing a parallel between the Roman conquest of Britain and the contemporary stationing of British forces in Northern Ireland.

    A revival of the play at the Sheffield Crucible in 2006 caused little stir - indeed, the theater even arranged special matinees for pensioners and school parties.