Photos: Peter Nichols Converses on 80th Bday at NTDate: 6 August 2007
Award-winning playwright Peter Nichols turned 80 years old last Tuesday (31 July 2007) and, on Friday, saw the milestone commemorated with a special Platform talk at the National Theatre, where he was ‘In Conversation with’ Donmar Warehouse artistic director Michael Grandage.
Nichols hails from the same ‘golden’ generation of Sixties playwrights among which John Osborne and Harold Pinter belong to. Indeed Nichols once met Osborne who was similar to him in that he began acting before he started writing, and therefore knew what actors required and how better to structure his plays as a result.
Nichols based several of his most well-known plays on his own experiences. A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1967) deals with a couple’s raising of a handicapped child, The National Health (1969) deals with the NHS, and his ‘play with music’, Privates on Parade (1977), which Grandage revived at the Donmar in 2001, looks at service in the armed forces. Nichols spent his National Service with the RAF and then had experience touring Singapore and Malaya with the Combined Services Entertainment. His other plays include Passion Play (revived at the Donmar in 2000, subsequently transferring to the West End and Broadway) and So Long Life.
TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE IN CONVERSATION WITH PETER NICHOLS PHOTOS,
Over his varied writing career, Nichols has won many accolades and awards including an Arts Council Bursary in 1961, the John Whiting Award in 1967, and the Evening Standard Best Play Award on four separate occasions. West End transfers also saw him win recognition in the Oliviers (then the Society of West End Theatre Awards) in 1978 and 1982, and the Broadway production of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg in 1985 won two Tony Awards.
Nichols’ 80th birthday celebrations continue this year with the Stephen Joseph Theatre revival of 1971’s Forget-Me-Not-Lane (currently running until 25 August) in Scarborough, where there was a similar ‘In Conversation’ style event on 5 August. There are additional events being planned in Bristol to mark Nichols’ history with the Bristol Old Vic.
- by Tom Atkins