Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Collier's Friday Night
Home | Up | News | Pieces | Résumé | Pictures | Studio | Publications | Links


Bookmark and Share

A Collier's Friday Night

by D.H. Lawrence

The English Stage Society

Royal Court Theatre, 8 August 1965, in a Production without Décor.

Peter Gill's unaffectedly sympathetic production contained some exquisite playing from Victor Henry and Gwendolyn Watts and demonstrated among other things, that Lawrence, at that time, had a strong sense of fun.
Sunday Times
... if such a production, so beautifully performed, could not be a commercial proposition in the West End, then we might just as well all pack up our vitriol and go home to read Beerbohm.
David Benedictus Spectator
Peter Gill's beautiful production of Lawrence's first play 'A Collier's Friday Night' exploded the idea that Lawrence, the dramatist, could be safely ignored.'
Irving Wardle The Times

Written in 1906-7 the play prefigures the novel Sons and Lovers, with its picture of a family warring within itself; the mother at loggerheads with the father, and jealous of her son's sweetheart — a picture, in fact, of Lawrence's owns family. Edward Garnett records that Lawrence pencilled on the manuscript "was written when I was twenty-one, almost before I'd done anything." Garnett goes on, "The warp and woof of the drama out of which the situations are spun are the bitterness between the parents and Ernest's relations with the woman round him. At twenty-one Lawrence had not yet evolved his philosophical doctrines about sex, nor had he developed the "Inner conflict" between his selves. But his uncanny clairvoyance about women and the sex duel generally is declared in every scene in A Collier's Friday Night

Lawrence on the Theatre

A People's Theatre. Since we can't produce it, let us deduce it, Major premiss: the seats are cheap. Minor premiss: the plays are good. Conclusion: A People's Theatre. How much will you give me for my syllogism? Not a slap in the eye, I hope. 1919.

I believe that, just as an audience was found in Russia for Chekhov, so an audience right be found in England for some of my stuff, if there were a rain to whip them in. I am sure we are sick of the rather bony, bloodless drama we get nowadays — it is time for a reaction against Shaw and Galsworthy and Barker and Irishy (except Synge) people — the rule and measure and mathematical folk.

It will seem a bit rough to me, when I am 45 and must see myself and my tradition supplanted: I shall bear it very badly.

But I don't want to write like Galsworthy nor Ibsen nor Strindberg, nor any of them, not even if I could. We have to hate our immediate predecessors to get rid of their authority. 1913.

The essence of tragedy, which is creative crisis, is that a man should go through with his fate, and not dodge it and go bumping into an accident. And the whole business of life, at the great critical periods of mankind, is that men should accept and be one with their tragedy. Therefore re should open our hearts. For one thing, we should have a People's Theatre. Perhaps it would help us in this hour of confusion better than anything. 1919

Lawrence's other plays

The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd Fight for Barbara
Touch and Go The Daughter-in-Law
David Married Man
Altitude Merry-go-round

A Collier's Friday Night

The play takes place in the Lamberts' house.

There will be Two Acts with an interval of 15 minutes

Mrs Lambert Clare Kelly

Clare Kelly is appearing in Inadmissable Evidence at Wyndham's Theatre

Nellie Lambert Rosemary McHale
Gertie Coomber Kate Story
Mr Lambert Richard Butler
Ernest Lambert Victor Henry Victor Henry, A Collier's Friday Night, Royal Court, 1965.  Photo: John Haynes
Barker John Normington

John Normington appears by permission of the Royal Shakespeare Company

Carlin Anthony Watkins
Maggie Pearson Lucy Fleming
Beatrice Wyld Gwendolyn Watts
Director Peter Gill
Costumes Ruth Myers
Stage Manager Robert Kydd
Assistant Stage Manager Jennifer Stanley-Adams
Carpenter Terry Murphy
Lighting John Lloyd
Photography John Haynes

Home | Up | Breath of Life | The Aliens | Hens | Another Door Closed | Semper Dowland / Corridor | Small Change | Importance of Being Earnest | Gaslight | Look Back in Anger | The Voysey Inheritance | Epitaph for George Dillon | Days of Wine and Roses | Romeo and Juliet | Scenes from the Big Picture | Peter Gill Festival | York Realist | Radio plays | Luther | Speed-the-Plow | The Seagull | Friendly Fire | Certain Young Men | Mrs Klein | Tongue of a Bird | Cardiff East | A Patriot for Me | Uncle Vanya | New England | Way of the World | Juno and the Paycock | Marriage of Figaro | Harrison Birtwistle | Mean Tears | New Plays | Fool for Love, Lyric | Fool for Love | Antigone | Venice Preserv'd | Tales from Hollywood | Small Change (1983) | Kick for Touch | Major Barbara | Danton's Death | Much Ado (1981) | Don Juan | Month in Country | Scrape off the Black | Julius Caesar | Measure for Measure | Changeling | Cherry Orchard | Small Change (1976) | The Fool | As You Like It | Fishing | Twelfth Night | Merry-Go-Round | Schwieger Tochter | Crete and Sgt Pepper | Duchess of Malfi | Macbeth | Hedda Gabler | Landscape, Silence | Sleepers' Den (1969) | Over Gardens Out | Much Ado (1969) | Life Price | Daughter-in-Law tour | Lawrence season | O'Flaherty VC | Crimes of Passion | Daughter-in-Law (1967) | The Soldier's Fortune | A Provincial Life | O'Flaherty VC | Ruffian on the Stair | Local Stigmatic | Traverse | Albert Cobb | Collier's Friday Night | Sleepers' Den (1965)

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.  Copyright © 1999-2011

Last modified: 2011-05-31

Home | Up | Provincial Life | Breath of Life | The Aliens | Hens | Another Door Closed | Semper Dowland / Corridor | Small Change | Importance of Being Earnest | Gaslight | Look Back in Anger | The Voysey Inheritance | Epitaph for George Dillon | Days of Wine and Roses | Romeo and Juliet | Scenes from the Big Picture | Peter Gill Festival | York Realist | Radio plays | Luther | Speed-the-Plow | The Seagull | Friendly Fire | Certain Young Men | Mrs Klein | Tongue of a Bird | Cardiff East | A Patriot for Me | Uncle Vanya | New England | Way of the World | Juno and the Paycock | Marriage of Figaro | Harrison Birtwistle | Mean Tears | New Plays | Fool for Love, Lyric | Fool for Love | Antigone | Venice Preserv'd | Tales from Hollywood | Small Change (1983) | Kick for Touch | Major Barbara | Danton's Death | Much Ado (1981) | Don Juan | Month in Country | Scrape off the Black | Julius Caesar | Measure for Measure | Changeling | Cherry Orchard | Small Change (1976) | The Fool | As You Like It | Fishing | Twelfth Night | Merry-Go-Round | Schwieger Tochter | Crete and Sgt Pepper | Duchess of Malfi | Macbeth | Hedda Gabler | Landscape, Silence | Sleepers' Den (1969) | Over Gardens Out | Much Ado (1969) | Life Price | Daughter-in-Law tour | Lawrence season | O'Flaherty VC | Crimes of Passion | Daughter-in-Law (1967) | The Soldier's Fortune | A Provincial Life | O'Flaherty VC | Ruffian on the Stair | Local Stigmatic | Traverse | Albert Cobb | Collier's Friday Night | Sleepers' Den (1965)

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.  Copyright © 1999-2012

Last modified: 2012-03-15