Jonathan Harvey (playwright)
Life and works
Jonathan Paul Harvey was born in Liverpool in 1968. Jonathan has a brother called Timothy. Harvey's first serious attempt as a playwright was in 1987. Fuelled by the attraction of a £1,000 first prize to young writers from the Liverpool Playhouse, the result was The Cherry Blossom Tree, a garish blend of suicide, murder and nuns. This effort won him the National Girobank Young Writer of the Year Award.
Feeling very encouraged, he went on to write Mohair (1988), Wildfire (1992) and Babies (1993), the latter winning him the 'George Devine Award' for that year and The Evening Standard's 'Most Promising Playwright Award' for 1994. In 1993, Harvey, premiered Beautiful Thing, a gay-themed play-turned-movie for which he won the prestigious 'John Whiting Award' the following year. 1995 saw the premiere of Boom Bang-a-Bang, at the Bush Theatre, London, originally directed by Kathy Burke. Harvey cites it as "my most comic play ever, but with some dark bits". Centred around a group of friends gathering to watch the Eurovision Song Contest, the play was a sell-out. That same year, he also premiered Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club, his "much more sad, serious and dark play".
Guiding Star (1998), is a portrayal of one man's struggle to come to terms with the Hillsborough FA Cup Semi-Final disaster, whilst Hushabye Mountain (1999) deals with a world that has learned to live with AIDS. Out in the Open (2001), is a caustic and funny exploration of love and the limits of friendship.
Television and film works include: West End Girls (Carlton); Love Junkie (BBC); Beautiful Thing (Channel Four/Island World Productions); the 1998 hit/cult comedy series starring Kathy Burke and James Dreyfus, Gimme Gimme Gimme (Tiger Aspect); Murder Most Horrid (BBC); and Coronation Street (ITV).
He also wrote the book for Closer to Heaven, a stage musical with songs and music written by Pet Shop Boys. Closer to Heaven ran for nine months at the Arts Theatre in London during 2001 and in Australia in 2005.
In 2003 Harvey heard the singer-actress Abi Roberts perform and was so enchanted he offered to write a solo show especially for her. Taking Charlie was the outcome, staged at the 2004 Edinburgh Festival with Roberts starring, under the direction of Susan Tully. The piece was darkly comic and focused on the destructive nature of an insecure, 30-year old addict.
Harvey released his first book of fiction in 2012, All She Wants.
- 2012: Panto!
- 2010: Canary (2010) (Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool/Hampstead Theatre, London)
- 2004: Taking Charlie (2004)
- 2001: Out in the Open (2001)
- 1999: Hushabye Mountain (1999)
- 1998: Guiding Star (1998)
- 1995: Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club (1995)
- 1995: Boom Bang-A-Bang (Bush Theatre, 1995); Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club (English Touring Theatre/Contact Theatre Company, Donmar Warehouse/Criterion Theatre, London, 1995).
- 1994: Babies (Royal National Theatre Studio/Royal Court Theatre, 1994), winner George Devine Award 1993 and Evening Standard's Most Promising Playwright Award 1994.
- 1993: Beautiful Thing (Bush Theatre, London, 1993 and Donmar Warehouse, London/Duke of York's Theatre, London, 1994), winner of the John Whiting Award 1994.
- 1992: Wildfire (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 1992).
- 1988: Mohair (Royal Court Young Writers Festival, London/International Festival of Young Playwrights, Sydney, 1988).
- 1987: The Cherry Blossom Tree (Liverpool Playhouse Studio, 1987) which won him the 1987 National Girobank Young Writer of the Year Award.
Television and film
- Jonathan Harvey biography: People of Today Debretts.com. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
- "Gay Power: The pink list". The Independent (London). July 2, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-01