Benefactors (play)

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premiere programme
Written by Michael Frayn
Characters Jane
Date premiered 1984
Place premiered Vaudeville Theatre, London
Original language English
Genre Drama
Setting 1960s

Benefactors is a 1984 play by Michael Frayn. It is set in the 1960s and concerns an idealistic architect David and his wife Jane and their relationship with the cynical Colin and his wife Sheila. David is attempting to build some new homes to replace the slum housing of Basuto Road and is gradually forced by circumstances into building skyscrapers despite his initial aversion to these. This is set against the backdrop of 1960s new housing projects. Sheila becomes his secretary but it is unclear if she is helping him or the other way around. As the title of the play suggests it is about helping people and explores some of the difficulties inherent in this or in being helped.

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1986 Drama Desk Award for Best Play
  • 1986 Tony Award for Best Play


The most recent revival of this play is opening November 3, 2010 in New York City. It is being produced by the Off-Off Broadway company Retro Productions. It stars Heather E. Cunningham, David Ian Lee, Matthew Semler and Kristen Vaughan.



  • Frayn, Michael (1984). Benefactors: A Play in Two Acts (First edition ed.). London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-54160-6. 

External links[edit]