David Rudkin

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James David Rudkin (born 29 June 1936) is an English playwright .

Early Life[edit]

Rudkin was born in London. Coming from a family of strict evangelical Christians,[1] he was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham and read Mods and Greats at St Catherine's College, Oxford. Beginning to write during national service in the Royal Corps of Signals, Rudkin taught Latin, Greek and music at North Bromsgrove High School in Worcestershire until 1964,[2] while also directing amateur theatre productions.[3]


Following the success of his first play Afore Night Come (1962), Rudkin translated works by Aeschylus, Roger Vitrac, the libretto of Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron, and wrote the book to the Western Theatre Ballet's Sun into Darkness (Sadlers Wells 1963)[4] and the libretto for Gordon Crosse's comic opera, The Grace of Todd.[2]

Rudkin's major works for the stage include Ashes (1974), The Sons of Light (written in 1965 though not staged until 1975), The Triumph of Death (1981) and The Saxon Shore (1986). His associations with the RSC also led him to translate the Hippolytus of Euripides for the company in 1978, having translated the author's Hecuba for radio three years previously.[2]

He has written for television, including The Stone Dance (1963), Children Playing (1967), House of Character (1968)[4] (staged by the Birmingham Rep as No Title in 1974), Blodwen, Home from Rachel's Marriage (1969), Bypass (1972), Atrocity (1973), the Alan Clarke-directed Penda's Fen (1974), and Artemis 81 (1981); for radio, including No Accounting for Taste (1960), Gear Change (1967),[2] Cries from Casement as His Bones are Brought to Dublin (1973) (also staged by the RSC); and for cinema, including François Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 (1966).

He has also written a volume in the British Film Institute's "Film Classics" series, a 2005 study of Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr.[5]



  1. ^ Anger and After by John Russell Taylor p.279 of revised 1963 Pelican edition
  2. ^ a b c d Biographical information on cover of The Triumph of Death, Methuen 1981 ISBN 0-413-49110-2 and The Saxon Shore, Methuen 1986 ISBN 0-413-14100-4
  3. ^ John Russell Taylor Anger and After, Harmondesworth: Pelican, 1963 ed., pp.279-280
  4. ^ a b John Russell Taylor Anger & After, Methuen University Paperback, 1969 reprint, p.309
  5. ^ Vampyr, BFI, ISBN 978-1-84457-073-7
  6. ^ OBIES Archived 30 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 16 Oct 09
  7. ^ Benedict, David (27 June 1997). "THEATRE The Maids Donmar Warehouse, London". London: The Independent. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  8. ^ Param Vir's website Archived 7 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 7 October 2009
  9. ^ Jonathan Harvey's website Retrieved on 7 October 2009
  10. ^ Param Vir's website Archived 9 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 7 October 2009

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]