A nine-week festival of new plays
23 September to 23 November 1985
Peter Cox (Editor, Garden of England)
is thirty-one and was born in Widnes. he has had a variety of jobs, from travel courier to working on building sites, and trained as a teacher before becoming a theatre technician.
He began writing while a technician at the Royal Court, his first play Let's Hear It For The Deaf Man being performed by the Youth Theatre there in 1979. Then came Jimmy Riddle (DET Enterprises), Snatch (Black Theatre Co-operative), Second Hand Cradle (Common Stock Youth Theatre), My Igloo Is Burning (Rotherhithe Theatre Workshop), Ticker Tape And V Signs (7:84), and two adaptations — Twilight Zone (Almeida Theatre) and Not Fish Not Flesh (Soho Poly). In 1984 he won the George Devine Award for Up To The Sun And Down To The Centre (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs).
At the time of the miners' strike, Peter Cox took part in a NT Studio Workshop, in the course of which extensive interviews were carried out with Kent miners and their families. The result — an hour-long documentary collage entitled The Garden of England - was performed as a Studio Night in the Cottesloe on 23 October 1984. Peter Cox's next play, also called The Garden of England, was performed by 7:84 England in mining communities and at the Shaw Theatre, London.
In June this year, the NT Studio held a second workshop in which Peter Cox and the actors revisited the Kent mining community. The Garden of England as seen in the present Festival includes both the original documentary collage and a new one based on the second workshop.
William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying)
died in 1962 at the age of sixty-five. His novels include, as well as As I Lay Dying: Soldiers' Pay; The Sound and The Fury, Sanctuary, Light In August, Absalom, Absalom!, The Unvanquished, The Wild Palms, Go Down, Moses, Intruder In The Dust, and Requiem For A Nun.
He wrote As I Lay Dying during six weeks of the summer of 1929 while he had a job as a coal-heaver on nightshift in a Mississippi power station: he worked on the book solely between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m.
During the latter part of his career, he spent some time as a Hollywood scriptwriter, and despite the fact that his motives were almost entirely financial, his credits do include collaboration on the screenplays of two Humphrey Bogart films: To Have And Have Not and The Big Sleep.
Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.
Peter Gill (As I Lay Dying and In the Blue)
was born in Cardiff in 1939, becoming an actor when he was seventeen. He gave this up when he started directing at the age of twenty-four. His first play, The Sleepers' Den, was performed at the Royal Court in 1965. Much of his early work was also done at the Royal Court, where he directed his own plays A Provincial Life (adapted from Chekhov's short story My Life), Over Gardens Out and Sleepers'Den (both in 1969, the year he won the George Devine Award), The Merty-Go- Round (adapted from D H Lawrence) and Small Change. He subsequently wrote further adaptations of Chekhov (The Cherty Orchard) and Lawrence (Touch and Go), and directed his own play Kick for Touch, together with Small Change at the NT in 1983.
As I Lay Dying was first presented as a Studio Night, in the Cottesloe on 26 July 1984, as was In the Blue, on 18 March 1985.
Peter Gill's is also a director.
Debbie Horsfield (True Dare Kiss and Command or Promise)
was born in Manchester in 1955 and has supported Manchester United F.C. since the age of ten. She was educated at Eccles Grammar School and Newcastle University and subsequently worked for the Gulbenkian Studio,
Newcastle, and for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her first plays were Out On The Flool; Away From It All (both Theatre Royal Stratford East), All You Deserve (RSC at the Pit) and three episodes of Crown Court (Granada TV).
In 1983, Liverpool Playhouse Studio commissioned her to write Red Devils, on the basis of which she remained with them for a further year as part of the Thames Television Playwright Scheme. True Dare Kiss and Command Or Promise were both written during this period and first performed at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983. They have been followed by Touch And Go (Croydon Warehouse), since retitled Revelations (Chichester Festival). She is currently working on a new play for Liverpool Playhouse.
Mick Mahoney (Up For None)
was born in Derry in 1959 and moved to England with his family in the early sixties. His first play, Friday Nights, was presented at both the Old Red Lion and Riverside Studios in 1981. This was followed by When Your Bottle's Gone in SE1 (Soho Poly 1983). Up For None was commissioned by the Soho Poly and won the 1984 Verity Bargate Award. It was first presented for one performance at a Studio Night in the Cottesloe Theatre in November 1984. Mick Mahoney is Resident Playwright at the NT, on the Thames Television Playwright Scheme. He has recently completed a film script and a new short play for the NT Studio, Rucker's Touch.
Daniel Mornin (The Murderers)
was born in Belfast twenty-nine years ago and moved to London in 1969. He left school at fifteen and worked in various jobs before joining the Navy for three years. After leaving, he travelled in Asia, Europe and North Africa. His first play, Mum and Son, was performed at Riverside Studios in May 1981 and subsequently revived at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, in June 1984. It was followed by Resting Time (Tring New Theatre workshop), Kate (Bush Theatre), Short Of Mutiny (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Comrade Ogilvy (RSC Thoughtcrimes Festival and Capital Radio Playhouse). The Murderers won him this year's George Devine Award and was first performed at a NT Studio Workshop on 10 and 11 May 1985.
Alex Renton (A Twist of Lemon)
was born in Canada in 1961. After careering through the public school system, he ended up at Exeter University, where he read Philosophy and then English. The original, longer, version of A Twist of Lemon was written while a student at Exeter and first performed there in February 1984. It subsequently won the Yorkshire T. V. Award at the 1984 Sunday Times Student Drama Festival and has since been performed in Edinburgh and the U.S.A. His Stories of Saki was premiered in Edinburgh this summer, and he has just finished writing a new play Hard Sell which, like A Twist of Lemon, is about the seamier side of upper-class life in London. A Twist of Lemon was presented in a Studio Night in the Cottesloe on 18 March 1985.
Rod Smith (Sunday Morning)
was born in Birmingham in 1952 and attended King Edward's Camp Hill Grammar School for Boys. He is married with two daughters and has been a professional actor for seventeen years. He has previously worked with Peter Gill, at both Riverside Studios and the NT, and is also acting in the Festival (his work as an actor is summarised on page18). He moved to Hackney from Birmingham eight years ago. Sunday Morning, his first play, is based upon this experience. Its writing was prompted by a two-day workshop for aspirant playwrights held by Peter Gill and John Burgess at the NT Studio in March this year.
Rosemary Wilton (Bouncing)
was born in Harrogate and educated at a convent. She travelled overland to Katmandu and thence to Australia where she worked as a translator/telephonist for a whaling company, by that time reduced to catching prawns. Returning to England she modelled bathing costumes, and worked as a waitress and shop assistant before joining a theatre management (Perdita Productions), and eventually going into her present job in BBC television production. Bouncing is her first play and came out of the NT Studio Workshop run by Peter Gill and John Burgess in March this year (which also resulted in Rod Smith's Sunday Morning). She recently completed a second play, Distinguishing Marks.
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