Theatre News

Playwright David Storey dies aged 83

The writer won the Booker Prize and was also a professional rugby player

David Storey at the West End opening of the revival production of In Celebration
David Storey at the West End opening of the revival production of In Celebration
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage
Playwright and author of This Sporting Life David Storey has passed away at the age of 83.

Storey won the Booker Prize for his novel Saville in 1976, which tells the story of a mining family from the late 1930s onwards.

His many plays include The Changing Room, Cromwell and Home – which was directed by Lindsay Anderson, with whom he collaborated on many of his works, including the 1963 film of Storey's debut novel This Sporting Life. Storey's novel follows protagonist Arthur Machin, a man who tries to make it as a rugby league player. It won Storey the Macmillan Fiction Award and began the director and writer's long collaboration.

Other collaborations with Anderson include the onscreen productions of In Celebration starring Alan Bates and Brian Cox. The play was revived in the West End in 2007 starring Orlando Bloom.

Storey had a famous run-in with Guardian reviewer Michael Billington who he gave a cuff round the ears for his review of Mother's Day at the Royal Court.

The writer was born in Wakefield and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art whilst also playing rugby for Leeds RLFC (now Leeds Rhinos). His wife, Barbara Hamilton, died in 2015 and he is survived by two sons and two daughters.

The theatre industry paid tribute on social media today to the writer.

— Dan Rebellato (@DanRebellato) March 27, 2017

— Megan Cronin (@megancatherin15) March 27, 2017

— David Eldridge (@deldridgewriter) March 27, 2017

— Luke Barnes (@northernluke) March 27, 2017