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Meet The Playwrights

Alan Ayckbourn   Show Details

Alan Ayckbourn was born in London in 1939 and has worked in theatre all his life. Before establishing himself as a writer and director, Alan worked in roles as various as stage manager, sound technician, lighting technician, scene painter, prop maker and actor. He always claims that most of these talents he developed with the help of Stephen Joseph, his mentor and founder of the Library Theatre in Scarborough who first encouraged him to write. One of Alan’s greatest achievements was the establishment of a permanent home for the company of which he was the artistic director between 1972 and 2008 – the Stephen Joseph Theatre; a splendid two-auditoria arts complex opened in 1996. Probably one of the nation’s most performed living playwrights, Alan Ayckbourn has written 72 plays, almost all receiving their first performance in Scarborough. Among his successes are: How The Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Bedroom Farce, Just Between Ourselves, A Chorus of Disapproval, Woman in Mind, A Small Family Business and Comic Potential. More than 35 have been produced in the West End or at the National Theatre since his first hit, Relatively Speaking, opened at the Duke of York’s Theatre in 1967.

His plays have been translated into 35 languages, have won numerous national and international awards and are performed on stage and television throughout the world. They have been filmed in English and French, the most recent, Coeurs, Alain Resnais’ adaptation of Private Fears in Public Places winning that great film director the Silver Lion Award at the 2007 Venice Film Festival. Alan’s book, The Crafty Art of Playmaking, published by Faber in 2002 has, to date, been published in Germany, Spain, Sweden and the USA. The holder of a number of honorary degrees, he is also the recipient of a Montblanc de la Culture Award for Europe and a Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence. A Fellow of the RSA, he was appointed a CBE in 1987 and in 1997, was knighted for services to the theatre. Alan Ayckbourn stepped down as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre at the climax of the 2008 autumn season.

Biography supplied by Alan Ayckbourn’s official website

Plays Produced at BLT: Season's Greetings (December 2008)

John Godber   Show Details

John Harold Godber (born May 1956) is an English playwright, known mainly for his innovative theatre and observational 'comedies with an edge'. He was born in Upton, near Pontefract, Yorkshire, the son of a miner. He trained as a teacher of drama at Bretton Hall College and became artistic director of Hull Truck Theatre Company in 1984. Before venturing into plays, he was head of drama at Minsthorpe High School, the school that he attended as a student, and later wrote for TV series Brookside and Grange Hill. Whilst at Minsthorpe he taught future actor Adrian Hood (Preston Front, Up n Under film). In 2004 he was made Professor of Popular Theatre at Liverpool Hope University.

His earlier style utilises an interest in German Expressionism, an economic and physical style inspired by this and the inspiration of Bretton Hall Head of School (Drama) John Hodgson. His later and more naturalistic style reflects Godber's growth as a member of the middle classes and an Ayckbournesque world of Drama. He says that the 'new Godber' is perhaps a writer like Tim Firth.

He is married to Jane Thorton.

Biography from wikipedia -

Plays Produced at BLT: Perfect Pitch (January 2009)

David Hare   Show Details

David Hare was born at St. Leonards, Sussex, in 1947, and was educated at Lancing College, Sussex, and Jesus College, Cambridge in 1968. He was a co-founder of the Portable Theatre Company, acting and directing, and began his writing career by stepping up to the breech when a playwright failed to deliver a new play to the company, penning his first short piece in less than four days. His first full-length piece, "Slag", set in a girls school, debuted at the Hamstead Theatre Club in London (1970) and won him the Evening Standard Award for most promising new playwright. He then served as resident dramatist for the Royal Court Theatre, London and the Nottingham Playhouse, subsequently writing for the National Theatre of which he became an Associate Director in 1985. He was knighted in 1998 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

His plays include "Knuckle" which won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (1974); "Fanshen" (1975); "Plenty" (1978); "Saigon: Year of the Cat" (1983); "Pravda" (with Howard Brenton - 1985); "The Secret Rapture" (1988); the trilogy "Racing Demon" (1990), "Murmuring Judges" (1991) and "The Absence of War" (1993) about three British institutions; "Skylight" (1995); "Amy's View" (which debuted at the Lyttleton with Dame Judi Dench - 1997); and "The Judas Kiss" (1998).

Plays Produced at BLT: Amy's View (October 2007)

Terry Johnson   Show Details

Terry Johnson (born 1955) is a prolific British dramatist and director working for stage, television and film. Johnson's stage work has been produced around the world and has won him numerous British Theatre awards including the John Whiting Award (1991), Meyer-Whitworth Award (1993), Olivier Award for Best Comedy ("Hysteria" 1993 and "Cleo, Camping,Emmanuelle and Dick" 1998), Writers Guild Award for Best West End Play ("Dead Funny" 1994), Drama Critics Circle Best Play ("Dead Funny" 1994), Playwright of the Year 1995, and two Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

His screen work has been broadcast worldwide, including the Channel 4 TV Drama "Not Only But Always", starring Rhys Ifans, which he both wrote and directed and which was nominated for the British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy and BAFTA Best Single Drama. In addition, the film version of his play "Insignificance" was the official British Entry at Cannes Film Festival in 1985.

Successful West End productions as writer and/or director include: "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", "Hitchcock Blonde" (writer), "Entertaining Mr Sloane", "The Graduate", "Dead Funny" (writer), "Hysteria" (writer), "Elton John's Glasses" and "The Memory Of Water". In recent years Terry has specialised in writing plays paying homage to real-life characters including, amongst others, Benny Hill ("Dead Funny"), the Carry On team, Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe and Salvadore Dali.

Plays Produced at BLT: Dead Funny (March 2008)

Charlotte Jones   Show Details

British actress and playwright. Educated at Oxford University, Charlotte made her professional stage debut as an actress in "Love's Labours Lost" at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, but subsequently gave up acting to concentrate on her career as a playwright. Her first play, "Airswimming", was premièred in 1997 at the Battersea Arts Centre, London and was later broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her second, "In Flame", was premièred in 1999 at the Bush Theatre, London, and won her the the Manchester Evening News Best Play Award and the Pearson Television Best Play Award of that year. "Humble Boy" (2001), was awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, 2001, the Critics' Circle Best New Play Award, 2002, and the People's Choice Best New Play Award, 2002.

Her other plays to date include "Martha Josie and the Chinese Elvis" (1999), "The Dark" (2004), and "The Lightning Play" (2006). She also wrote the book to the West End musical The Woman in White, in collaboration with David Zippel and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Produced at BLT: Humble Boy (May 2007)

Arthur Miller   Show Details

Arthur Asher Miller (1915 – 2005) was an American playwright and essayist who was a prominent figure in American literature and cinema for over 60 years. His first play, "The Man Who Had All The Luck" (1944) was a box office failure when it opened in New York, despite having won him Theatre Guilds National Award. "All My Sons" (1447), was his first major success and ran for over 300 performances in New York as well as winning two Tony Awards. He went on to write a wide variety of celebrated and influential plays including "The Crucible", "A View from the Bridge", and "Death of a Salesman", many which are still studied and performed worldwide. "Death of a Salesman" (1949) received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Play, and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play - the first play ever to win these three major awards.

In the course of his career, Miller was often in the public eye, most famously for his marriage to Marilyn Monroe (which ended one year before her death), and for refusing to give evidence implicating others when he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee for alleged communist sympathies. At the time of his death, he was considered one of the greatest American playwrights.

Plays Produced at BLT: Death of a Salesman (May 2008)

John A. Penzotti   Show Details

New York playwright John A. Penzotti wrote his first play script in 2002. When it was first aired at the Harold Clurman Theatre in New York City, "Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting on a Green Park Bench" was a short, twelve minute, one act play. But, spurred on by it's success, Penzotti was inspired to develop it further and the full length version made it's world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Lincoln (UK), and has since been produced at theatres worldwide. His other works include "Andy Warhol Hates Me", "Clarity in a Coalmine", "I Sold Myself on EBay", "The Garden Party Tango" and "Before Birds Can Fly" although "Five Blue Haired Ladies..." remains his best known.

Plays Produced at BLT: Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting on a Green Park Bench (January 2008)

William Shakespeare   Show Details

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) is widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. His surviving works include at least 38 plays (some written with collaborators) and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard").

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, before moving to London where he became an actor, writer and, subsequently, co-owner of the players company 'The Lord Chamberlains Men'. He was one of the few playwrights of his time to excel in both comedy and tragedy and produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1612. Some of his dramas, including "Macbeth", "Hamlet", "King Lear" and "Romeo and Juliet" are ranked among the greatest plays of Western literature, whilst some of his comedies, including "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Much Ado About Nothing" and "The Taming of the Shrew" have become the most enduring works of that genre ever written. Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, with whom he raised three children, before retiring to Stratford where he died at the age of 52.

Plays Produced at BLT: The Taming of the Shrew (December 2007)

Richard Stockwell   Show Details

Richard Stockwell became an actor after graduating with a BA (Hons) from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Mountview Drama School in 1985. He began writing for the stage in the early 1990's and and gave up acting to concentrate on writing full-time in 1997. Since then he has written many pieces for stage and TV, including two years scriptwriting for 'Eastenders', and an adaptation of Agatha Christie's 'Death by Drowning' for BBC drama. 'Bad Blood' was his second full length play to have been published and professionally staged - the first being 'Killing Time' which toured nationally in 1997 starring Dennis Waterman and Glynis Barber. It has since been revived twice in the UK as well as being produced in the USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, Denmark and India. 'Bad Blood' was produced by the Ambassadors Theatre Group from January to May of 2003 starring Gillian Taylforth. In 2005, one of Richard's monologues was included in D.L. Ledipus' collection of Best Men’s Stage Monologues published by Smith and Kraus. Richard is also a successful academic and has taught for The Open University, Birkbeck College, London Metropolitan University, and the City Lit, and is currently Program Leader for Drama and Scriptwriting at Northumbria University.

Plays Produced at BLT: Bad Blood (February 2008)

Amanda Whittington   Show Details

Popular Nottingham born playwright who began her literary career as a freelance journalist for a variety of publications, and a columnist for the Nottingham Evening Post. Has subsequently written for film, television and radio as well as penning a number of successful stage plays. The first of these, "Be my Baby", premiered at the Soho Theatre in London in 1997. "Bollywood Jane", which began as a screenplay, won the BBC2 Dennis Potter screenwriting award (2001) and was subsequently rewritten for the stage receiving rave reviews when it debuted at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre in 2003. Her best known play however, is Ladies' Day, which broke all box office records at the Hull Truck Theatre when it debuted there in 2005. A hugely successful national tour followed (2006), and it was followed up by a sequel, "Ladies Down Under" in 2007.

Plays Produced at BLT: Ladies' Day (September 2007)

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