Barrie Keeffe

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Barrie Colin Keeffe
Born (1945-10-31) 31 October 1945 (age 73)
London, England
SpouseJacky Stoller
Notable work(s)The Long Good Friday, Barbarians, Gimme Shelter, Sus
AwardsParis Critics Prix Revelations, Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award

Barrie Colin Keeffe (born 31 October 1945) is an English dramatist and screenwriter, best known for his screenplay for the 1981 film The Long Good Friday.


Born in London, Keeffe was educated at East Ham Grammar School and joined the National Youth Theatre as an actor, after working as a journalist.[1] His first television play, The Substitute, was produced in 1972, his first theatre play Only a Game in 1973, and he became a full-time dramatic author in 1975: his theatre plays have been produced in 26 countries. He is also a screenwriter, notable for the films The Long Good Friday (1981) and Sus in 2010 (the latter adapted from his own play of the same name).

Keefe's writing has been noted for touching on political themes.[2] Gimme Shelter addressed class, Barbarians was Keeffe's attempt to "capture the energy of punk"[3] and addressed unemployment, Sus concerned institutionalised racism in the police, and Better Times was about the 1921 Poplar Rates Rebellion.

Keeffe was writer-in-residence at the Shaw Theatre in 1977, resident playwright with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1978, and associate writer at the Theatre Royal Stratford East from 1986 to 1991. He taught dramatic writing at City University, London (2002–06), was Judith J. Wilson Fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge (2003–04), visiting lecturer and patron of Writing for Performance at Ruskin College, Oxford (2003–04), and writer in residence at Kingston University, London (from 2011). He has led the Collaldra Writers School and Retreat, Venice, since 2007.

He was a United Nations Ambassador in 1995 (UN 50th anniversary year) and was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Warwick University in 2010. He received the Paris Critics Prix Revelations in 1978 and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1982. He is represented by The Agency, London.

Keeffe's Barbarians trilogy was revived in London in 2012 and 2015 by Tooting Arts Club[4][5] and also in 2015 at the Young Vic. Sus was revived at the Young Vic in 2009, and toured the UK in 2010.

Personal life[edit]

Keeffe is married to the film and television producer Jacky Stoller. When his second wife, the novelist and theatre director Verity Bargate, died in 1981, he became the guardian of her two sons Sam and Tom.[6]


Theatre plays[edit]

  • Only a Game (1973)
  • A Sight of Glory (1975)
  • Scribes (1975)
  • Here Comes the Sun (1976)
  • Gimme Shelter (1977)
  • A Mad World My Masters (1977, 1984)
  • Barbarians (1977)
  • Frozen Assets (1978)
  • Sus (1979)
  • Bastard Angel (1980)
  • She's So Modern (1980)
  • Black Lear (1980)
  • Chorus Girls (1981)
  • Better Times (1985)
  • King of England (1988)
  • My Girl (1989)
  • Not Fade Away (1990)
  • Wild Justice (1990)
  • I Only Want to Be With You (1995)
  • The Long Good Friday (1997)
  • Shadows on the Sun (2001)
  • Still Killing Time (2006)

Film and TV[edit]

  • Substitute (1972)
  • Not Quite Cricket (1977)
  • Gotcha (1977)
  • Nipper (1977)
  • Champions (1978)
  • Hanging Around (1978)
  • Waterloo Sunset (1979)
  • King (1984)

Television series[edit]

  • No Excuses (1983)

Radio plays[edit]

  • Uncle Jack (1975)
  • Pigeon Skyline (1976)
  • Only a Game and Frozen Assets (1977)
  • Anything Known (1980)
  • Paradise (1981)
  • On the Eve of the Millennium (1999)
  • Feng Shui and Me (2001)
  • The Five of Us (2005)



  • Gadabout (1969)
  • No Excuses (1983)

Theatre adaptations and direction[edit]

  • A Certain Vincent (1975)
  • A Gentle Spirit (1981)


  1. ^ Ned Chaillet, "Barrie (Colin) Keeffe", in K. A. Berney, ed., Contemporary British Dramatists, Gale, 1994, pp. 387–91.
  2. ^ Chambers, Colin (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre, A&C Black, 2006, p. 415.
  3. ^ "BARBARIANS by Barrie Keefe To Be Staged In Birthplace of Punk", Broadway World, 7 September 2015.
  4. ^ Matilda Battersby, "Keeffe's Barbarians tip up in Tooting bringing 'astonishing relevance'", The Independent, 18 April 2012.
  5. ^ Susannah Clapp, "Barbarians review – still angry after all these years", The Observer, 18 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Barrie Keeffe Biography (1945-)", Film Reference.


External links[edit]