David Edgar Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Born in Birmingham, England, to a theatrical family in 1948, David Edgar has spent most of his life in the dramatic world. He saw his first play, Beauty and the Beast, when he was four and wrote “The Life and Times of William Shakespeare” when he was ten. At the Oundle School, he was active in the theater as actor, designer, and director; he also edited the school’s poetry magazine. At Manchester University he studied drama, wrote and directed “The Author” for a student dramatic group, edited the student newspaper, and was active in politics, serving as chair of the Socialist Society. After graduation in 1969, he was employed for three years as a reporter for the Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

While in Bradford, he met Chris Parr, a student at Bradford University, who commissioned Edgar’s first play, Two Kinds of Angel, and was active in the theater. Edgar wrote eighteen plays that were produced, four of which were agitprop pieces for the General Will company created by Bradford students, and acted in a variety of roles in Bradford and Edinburgh. His success led him to become a full-time writer, and with other young playwrights, including David Hare, he helped write England’s Ireland. After academic stints at Leeds Polytechnic, where he had a fellowship, and Birmingham University, where he taught playwriting, he cofounded in 1975 the Theatre Writers’ Union. The following year Destiny, an anti-fascist play, was staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and won the John Whiting Award. This success was followed by other leftist...

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(Drama for Students)

David Edgar was born in Birmingham, England, on February 26, 1948. His father, Barrie Edgar, was a television producer, and his mother had...

(The entire section is 465 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Borrega, Art. “David Edgar.” In British Playwrights, 1956-1995. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996. Overview of Edgar’s plays.

Davies, Andrew. Other Theatres: The Development of Alternative and Experimental Theatre in Britain. New York: Macmillan, 1987. Discusses Edgar’s contributions and compares him to his contemporaries.

Kalson, Albert. “From Agitprop to SRO: The Political Drama of David Edgar.” In Cultural Power/Cultural Literacy, edited by Bonnie Braendlin. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1991. Traces Edgar’s development from his early plays to commercial success.

Painter, Susan. Edgar: The Playwright. London: Methuen, 1996. Examines most of Edgar’s plays, grouping them into categories. Includes chronology and extensive bibliography. Indispensable.