Timberlake Wertenbaker

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Timberlake Wertenbaker
Born New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Playwright, Librettist,
Nationality United Kingdom
Genre Modern theatre, original works and translations

Timberlake Wertenbaker is a British playwright, screenplay writer, and translator.[1]


Timberlake Wertenbaker grew up in the Basque Country and was educated in France.


Wertenbaker was the resident writer for Shared Experience in 1983 and the Royal Court Theatre from 1984-85. She was on the Executive Council of The English Stage Company from 1992-1997 and on the Executive Committee of Pen from 1998-2001. She served as the Royden B. Davis professor of Theatre at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. for 2005-2006. She was the Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the Freud Museum in 2011.

Currently, Wertenbaker is the Chair in Playwriting at the University of East Anglia. She is also the artistic director of Natural Perspective Theatre Company. In addition, she is artistic adviser to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and on the council of the Royal Society of Literature.

Honours and awards[edit]

  • 1985 Plays and Players Most Promising Playwright Award for The Grace of Mary Traverse
  • 1988 Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright for Our Country's Good
  • 1988 Laurence Olivier/BBC Award for Best New Play for Our Country's Good
  • 1989 Eileen Anderson Central Television Drama Award for The Love of the Nightingale
  • 1990 Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play (New York) Our Country's Good
  • 1991 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards for Best West End Play (London) Three Birds Alighting on a Field
  • 1992 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Three Birds Alighting on a Field
  • 1992 Writers' Guild Award (Best West End Play) Three Birds Alighting on a Field
  • 1992 Mrs Giles Whiting Award for her body of work.

Wertenbaker was made a fellow of The Royal Society of Literature in 2006.


Wertenbaker is currently writing a new play for Out of Joint.


She has written plays for the Royal Court, the Royal Shakespeare Company and other theatres:

  • This Is No Place for Tallulah Bankhead, 1978
  • The Third, 1980
  • Second Sentence, 1980
  • Case to Answer, 1980
  • Breaking Through, 1980
  • New Anatomies, 1981
  • Inside Out, 1982
  • Home Leave, 1982
  • Abel’s Sister, 1984
  • The Grace of Mary Traverse, 1985
  • Our Country's Good, 1988
  • The Love of the Nightingale, 1989
  • Three Birds Alighting on a Field, 1992
  • The Break of Day, 1995
  • After Darwin, 1998
  • Dianeira, 1999 (radio)
  • The Ash Girl (adaptation of "Cinderella"), 2000
  • Credible Witness, 2001
  • Galileo's Daughter, 2004
  • Scenes of Seduction, 2005 (radio)
  • Divine Intervention, 2006
  • The Love of the Nightingale, (Opera) Music by Richard Mills (PIA - 2006 & Sydney Opera House 2011)
  • Jenůfa by Gabriela Preissova (adaptation), 2007
  • Arden City (For the National Theatre Connections program), 2008
  • The Line, 2009
  • Our Ajax, 2013

Translations and adaptations[edit]

Her translations and adaptations include several plays by Marivaux (Shared Experience, Radio3), Sophocles’ Theban Plays (RSC), Euripides’ Hecuba (ACT, San Francisco), Eduardo de Filippo, Gabriela Preissova’s Jenufa (Arcola), and Racine (Phèdre, Britannicus).


  • What Is the Custom of Your Grief? (15 part adaptation of A. S. Byatt’s novel Possession for BBC Radio 4)
  • The Memory of Gold (October 2012 for BBC Radio 3)


  • The Love of the Nightingale, music by Richard Mills (Perth International Arts Festival 2006, Opera House 2011)



  • Plays, Vol. 1: New Anatomies; The Grace of Mary Traverse; Our Country's Good; The Love of the Nightingale; Three Birds Alighting on a Field (Faber and Faber)
  • Plays, Vol. 2: The Break of Day; After Darwin; Credible Witness; The Ash Girl; Diianeira (Faber and Faber)


  1. ^ "Timberlake Wertenbaker". Faber & Faber. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  2. ^ The Hecuba, 2001 radio play

External links[edit]