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Bryony Lavery

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Bryony Lavery

Bryony Lavery (born 1947) is a British dramatist, known for her successful and award-winning 1998 play Frozen. In addition to her work in theatre, she has also written for television and radio. She has written books including the biography Tallulah Bankhead and The Woman Writer's Handbook, and taught playwriting at Birmingham University.


  • Life and career 1
  • Selected writings 2
  • Background 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Life and career

Having begun her career as an actress, she decided that she was fed up with playing poor parts in plays, such as the left arm of a sofa, and decided to write plays with better parts for women. Early in her career she founded a theatre company called Les Oeufs Malades with actor Gerard Bell, she also founded Female Trouble, More Female Trouble and served as artistic director of Gay Sweatshop.

Her plays have a feminist undertone in them [1] and she has even written plays (like More Light which has only one male speaking role) with almost entirely female casts. She has written more than twenty plays since 1976.[2]

In addition to her original plays and adaptations, she has authored translations of foreign works such as her 2007 version of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.

She has written five plays for the National Theatre Connections series.

Frozen triggered a controversy and discussion about artistic sources and plagiarism and was the subject of a piece by Malcolm Gladwell published in The New Yorker and also collected in his book What the Dog Saw.

In addition she also adapted Treasure Island, the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, into a play which was first performed on the Olivier Stage of the National Theatre, London, on December 3, 2014.

Selected writings

  • The Two Marias (1988) - Theatre Centre
  • Her Aching Heart (1992)
  • Peter Pan (1991) - a pantomime
  • Goliath (1997)
  • More Light (1997) - National Theatre Connections
  • Frozen (1998)
  • The Magic Toyshop (2001)
  • A Wedding Story (2000)
  • Illyria (play) (2002) - NT Connections
  • Last Easter (2004)
  • Stockholm (2007) - Frantic Assembly
  • Red Sky (2007, play) - NT Connections
  • It Snows (2008, play) - NT Connections
  • Breathing Underwater (1998 radio play) - BBC Radio 7
  • Kursk (2009, play) - Young Vic
  • Beautiful Burnout (2010) - Frantic Assembly / National Theatre of Scotland
  • Dirt (2012, play) - Studio Theatre


Lavery was raised in Yorkshire. She was married until her early thirties, but now identifies as gay.


  1. ^ [1] Guardian Interview UK
  2. ^ Interview: "Comedy of terrors" The Observer UK

External links

  • Bryony Lavery at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Bryony Lavery resume ~ United Agents Agency
  • Bryony Lavery ~
  • An article by Gladwell on the Play, Plagiarization, and Intellectual Property
  • Bryony Lavery's radio plays
  • Personal papers of Bryony Lavery held at DMU Archives
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