Henry Livings Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Born in Prestwich, Lancashire, on September 20, 1929, Henry Livings was not, as might be suspected from his work, reared in a working-class family, but in a white-collar family. Perhaps from visits to his father’s place of work (George Livings was a shop manager), he began to look carefully at the lives of people at work. Livings’s grammar-school years at Park View Primary School (1935-1939) and Stand Grammar School (1940-1945) put him in contact with the lives of his sturdy public-school classmates from Lancashire during the war years. After a brief enrollment (on scholarship) at Liverpool University (1945-1947), where he concentrated on Hispanic studies, Livings served as a cook in the Royal Air Force until 1950, when a series of jobs finally brought him to an acting career with the Century Mobile Theatre, in Leicestershire. Livings’s association with Joan Littlewood’s company at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London, began with a role in Brendan Behan’s The Quare Fellow (pr. 1954). It was Littlewood who encouraged Livings to continue writing, and, having married Fanny Carter, an actress with the company, in 1957, he wrote his first successful play, Stop It, Whoever You Are, produced at the Arts Theatre in London in 1961. Despite the furor it raised, and encouraged by the Evening Standard Award in 1961, Livings wrote busily during the next five years, a period that produced Eh?, The Little Mrs. Foster Show,...

(The entire section is 439 words.)