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Alan Bennett

From Academic Kids

Alan Bennett (born May 9, 1934) is an English writer and actor.

Born in Leeds Bennett was schooled at Leeds Modern School (a state grammar school), learnt Russian at the Joint Services School for Linguists during his National Service, and gained a first-class degree in history from Exeter College, Oxford.

In August 1960, Bennett, along with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller, and Peter Cook, achieved instant fame by appearing at the Edinburgh Festival in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe. After the Festival, the show continued in London and New York. Bennett's first stage play, Forty Years On, was produced in 1968.

Many of Bennett's characters are unfortunate and downtrodden, as in the Talking Heads series of monologues for television which were later performed at the Comedy Theatre in London in 1992. This was a sextet of poignantly comic pieces, each of which portrayed several stages in the character's decline from their initial state of denial or ignorance of their predicament, through their slow realization of the hopelessness of their situation, to a typically bleak Bennett conclusion. A second set of six followed a decade later.

Many of his plays draw on his background in Leeds and while he is celebrated for his acute observations of northern speech, the range and daring of his work is often undervalued - his television play The Old Crowd, for example includes shots of the director and technical crew, while his stage play The Lady In The Van includes two characters named Alan Bennett.

In 1998 Bennett refused an honorary doctorate from his Oxford college, in protest at its links with the press baron Rupert Murdoch.

In Februrary 2005 his critically-acclaimed The History Boys [1] (http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/?lid=7785&cc=1) won three Olivier Awards, for Best New Play, Best Actor (Richard Griffiths), and Best Direction (Nicholas Hytner), having previously won Critics' Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Best Actor and Best Play. Bennett himself received an Olivier for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre. [2] (http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/low_res/story.jsp?story=613121&host=5&dir=500)

Contents

Television Work

  • My Father Knew Lloyd George (also writer), 1965
  • Famous Gossips, 1965
  • Plato--The Drinking Party, 1965
  • Alice in Wonderland, 1966
  • On the Margin series (also writer), 1966-67
  • A Day Out (also writer), 1972
  • Sunset Across the Bay (also writer), 1975
  • A Little Outing (also writer), 1975
  • A Visit from Miss Prothero (writer),1978
  • Me--I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf (writer), 1978
  • Doris and Doreen (Green Forms) (writer), 1978
  • The Old Crowd (writer), 1979
  • Afternoon Off (writer), 1979
  • One Fine Day (writer), 1979
  • All Day On the Sands (writer), 1979
  • Objects of Affection (Our Winnie, A Woman of No Importance, Rolling Home, Marks, Say Something Happened, Intensive Care) (also writer), 1982
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1982
  • An Englishman Abroad (writer), 1983
  • The Insurance Man (writer), 1986
  • Breaking Up, 1986
  • Man and Music (narrator), 1986
  • Talking Heads (A Chip in the Sugar, Bed Among the Lentils, A Lady of Letters, Her Big Chance, Soldiering On, A Cream Cracker Under the Settee) (also writer), 1987
  • Down Cemetery Road: The Landscape of Philip Larkin (presenter), 1987
  • Fortunes of War series, 1987
  • Dinner at Noon (narrator), 1988
  • Poetry in Motion (presenter), 1990
  • 102 Boulevard Haussmann (writer), 1990
  • A Question of Attribution (writer), 1991
  • Selling Hitler, 1991
  • Poetry in Motion 2 (presenter), 1992
  • Portrait or Bust (presenter), 1994
  • The Abbey (presenter), 1995
  • Talking Heads 2, 1998
  • Telling Tales, 2000

Films

Radio

  • The Great Jowett, 1980
  • Dragon, 1982
  • Uncle Clarence (writer), 1985
  • Better Halves (narrator), 1988
  • The Lady in the Van (writer, narrator), 1990
  • Winnie-the-Pooh (narrator), 1990

Stage

  • Better Late, 1959
  • Beyond the Fringe (also co-writer), 1960
  • The Blood of the Bambergs, 1962
  • A Cuckoo in the Nest, 1964
  • Forty Years On (also writer), 1968
  • Sing a Rude Song (co-writer), 1969
  • Getting On (writer), 1971
  • Habeas Corpus (also writer), 1973
  • The Old Country (writer), 1977
  • Enjoy (writer), 1980
  • Kafka's Dick (writer), 1986
  • A Visit from Miss Prothero (writer), 1987
  • Single Spies (An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution) (also writer and director), 1988
  • The Wind in the Willows (adaptation), 1990
  • The Madness of George III (writer), 1991
  • Talking Heads (A Chip in the Sugar, Bed Among the Lentils, A Lady of Letters, Her Big Chance, Soldiering On, A Cream Cracker Under the Settee) (also writer), 1992
  • The History Boys (writer), 2004

Publications

  • Beyond the Fringe (with Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, and Dudley Moore). London: Souvenir Press, 1962, and New York: Random House, 1963
  • Forty Years On. London: Faber, 1969
  • Getting On. London: Faber, 1972
  • Habeas Corpus. London: Faber, 1973
  • The Old Country. London: Faber, 1978
  • Enjoy. London: Faber, 1980
  • Office Suite. London: Faber, 1981
  • Objects of Affection. London: BBC Publications, 1982
  • A Private Function. London: Faber, 1984
  • Forty Years On; Getting On; Habeas Corpus. London: Faber, 1985
  • The Writer in Disguise. London: Faber, 1985
  • Prick Up Your Ears. London: Faber, 1987
  • Two Kafka Plays. London: Faber, 1987
  • Talking Heads. London: BBC Publications, 1988; New York: Summit, 1990
  • Single Spies. London: Faber, 1989
    • Winner of Olivier Award: England's best comedy for 1989
  • Single Spies and Talking Heads. New York: Summit, 1990
  • The Lady in the Van, 1990
  • Poetry in Motion (with others). 1990
  • The Wind in the Willows. London: Faber, 1991
  • Forty Years On and Other Plays. London: Faber, 1991
  • The Madness of George III. London: Faber, 1992
  • Poetry in Motion 2 (with others). 1992
  • Writing Home (memoir & essays). London: Faber, 1994
  • The Madness of King George (screenplay), 1995
  • The Laying on of Hands (novella), 2000
  • The Clothes They Stood Up In (novel), 2001

Translations

German

  • Der Rote Baron, Sein letzter Flug, 2001
  • Vater, Vater, lichterloh, 2002
  • Cosi fan tutte, (previously published as Alle Jahre wieder) 2003
  • Die Lady im Lieferwagen, 2004
  • Handauflegen, 2005

References

  • Peter Wolfe, Understanding Alan Bennett, University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 1-57003-280-7
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