The Arts Society West Wales: Sidney Poitier: Hollywood and Race

Tue, 09 Apr 2024 - Presented by: The Arts Society West Wales

This is a Seated Event

 The Arts Society West Wales: Sidney Poitier: Hollywood and Race

Lecture starts at 11am

He was Hollywood’s first black superstar. In the 1950s when Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and James Dean were the rising stars their number was swelled by a handsome Black man for whom the phrase “Black is Beautiful” might have been created. By 1963 Sidney Poitier was well enough known, admired and liked to overcome decades of prejudice and be awarded the Best Oscar actor. He then went on to make the two films for which he is still remembered – In The Heat of the Night and To Sir With Love. Inevitably he was drawn into the ongoing struggle for civil rights and as the movement became more aggressive after the death of Martin Luther King, Poitier felt himself losing touch with a black audience that wanted him to be more radical. His career in front of the camera ended with dramatic suddenness.

Colin Shindler has been lecturing on American and British social and cultural history for over 20 years. He was awarded his PhD at Cambridge University and subsequently lectured on film for their History Faculty between 1998 and 2019 exploring its relationship to modern British and American social and cultural history. He also teaches a variety of adult education courses at Madingley and Higham Hall in Cumbria and has lectured on cruises.

Between 1975 and 1999 he pursued a wide-ranging career as a writer and producer in television, radio and film. He won a BAFTA award for his production of A Little Princess. His production of Young Charlie Chaplin was nominated for a US Prime Time Emmy. He wrote the screenplay for the feature film Buster and was the producer of various television dramas such as Lovejoy and Wish Me Luck. He has written three novels as well as numerous television scripts and radio plays but regards his greatest cultural contribution as choosing the title music for the police series Juliet Bravo.

His most recent radio play Leni Goes to Hollywood, about the German film director Leni Riefenstahl, was broadcast on Radio 4 in August 2021. Other radio plays for R4 included How To Be An Internee (about P.G. Wodehouse) and one on Private Eye & The Profumo Affair (Rumours). Both were selected by the BBC as Drama Podcast of the Week

He is the author of Barbed Wire and Cucumber Sandwiches: The Controversial South Africa Cricket Tour of 1970 which was short listed for the MCC/Wisden Cricket Book of the Year in 2021. He is best known for his childhood memoir Manchester United Ruined My Life which was short listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.

His other publications include Hollywood Goes To War: Films & American Society 1939-1952 and Hollywood in Crisis: Films & American Society 1929-1939. I'm Sure I speak for Thousands of Others (2017) was a history of unpublished letters written to the BBC and his non-fiction novel Garbo & Gilbert in Love was an imaginative reconstruction of the infamous relationship of the two MGM stars. He is currently working on the television adaptation of his novel Hollywood Nazis. His next book is titled Granada Land: Coronation Street and the Emergence of the North 1960-1970.

For more infoamtion please contact – 01646 636541 or email

The 2023/2024 Programme is now available on The Arts Society West Wales's website HERE