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James Graham (playwright)

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James Graham

Graham in 2016
Graham in 2016
BornMansfield, Nottinghamshire, England
Alma materAshfield Comprehensive School
University of Hull
GenrePolitical drama, comedy
Notable awardsOlivier Award

James Graham OBE FRSL is a British playwright and screenwriter. His work has been staged throughout the UK and internationally, at theatres including the Bush, Soho Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, and the National Theatre.

Early life and education[edit]

James Graham grew up in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire,[1]and was educated at Ashfield Comprehensive School and the University of Hull, where he studied drama.[citation needed]


Graham's first professional play, Albert's Boy, was produced by the Finborough Theatre in west London, where Graham became playwright-in-residence. His first major play This House was commissioned by the Royal National Theatre, where it was critically and commercially acclaimed, transferred to the larger Olivier Theatre, and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Play. This House was revived in 2016 and ran for two years, first in the West End and then on a national tour.[citation needed]

He wrote the book for the Broadway musical Finding Neverland, and two of his own plays, Privacy and Ink (for which he received his first Tony Award nomination), transferred to Broadway.[citation needed]

Graham's debut feature film X+Y premiered in 2015. He has written numerous TV dramas, including the TV films Coalition (which won the Royal Television Society award for Best Single Film) and Brexit: The Uncivil War (nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie). In 2019 Graham wrote and executive produced a three-part TV adaptation of his stage play Quiz which aired in 2020.[2]

In 2022, it was announced that Graham had written the book for a new musical about the life of televangelist Tammy Faye Messner, with Elton John and Jake Shears writing the music. Tammy Faye opened at the Almeida Theatre in October 2022, and was nominated for four Olivier Awards, winning two.[3] Tammy Faye will transfer to Broadway in October 2024. [4]

In 2023 he wrote Dear England for the National Theatre, starring Joseph Fiennes, a portrait of England footballer and team manager Gareth Southgate.[5] Dear England transferred to the West End, and in 2024, the BBC announced they had commissioned Graham to adapt the play into a TV drama series.[6]

His plays are published by Methuen.[7]

Recognition and honours[edit]

In 2018 Graham won his first Olivier Award, for Labour of Love as Best New Comedy (his other play Ink was nominated for an Olivier in the same year).[8]

He won his second Olivier Award in 2024, for Dear England, as Best Play.[9]

In June 2018, Graham was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in its "40 Under 40" initiative.[10]

In January 2019, Graham's life and work was the subject of an in-depth BBC One documentary as part of the Imagine series.[11]

In May 2019, his play This House was voted Play of the Decade in Bloomsbury Publishing's '60 Years of Modern Plays' public vote.[12]

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to drama and young people in British theatre.[13]



  1. ^ Chakelian, Anoosh (28 January 2013). "Ayes to the playwright: James Graham interview". Total Politics. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  2. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (16 August 2010). "ITV and AMC Order 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Cheating Drama 'Quiz'". Variety. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  3. ^ Sherwood, Harriet (23 August 2022). "Musical Tammy Faye tells gay icon's life story with score by Elton John". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "'Tammy Faye' Heads to Broadway! Elton John and Jake Shears' Divine Musical to Debut This Fall". People.com. Retrieved 22 March 2024.
  5. ^ "Dear England | National Theatre". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  6. ^ "BBC announces Dear England, a new drama based on James Graham's hit play about Gareth Southgate". BBC.com. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  7. ^ Bloomsbury.com. "Bloomsbury - Search". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  8. ^ Masso, Giverny (9 April 2018). "Olivier Awards 2018: Political theatre is making a comeback, says James Graham". The Stage.
  9. ^ "2024 Olivier Awards: Full list of winners". London Theatre.co.uk. 14 April 2024.
  10. ^ Flood, Alison (28 June 2018). "Royal Society of Literature admits 40 new fellows to address historical biases". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  11. ^ "BBC One - imagine..., 2019, James Graham: In the Room Where It Happens".
  12. ^ "This House 60 Years of Modern Plays". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  13. ^ "No. 62866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 2019. p. N12.
  14. ^ "Alberts Boy - 2005 - Finborough Theatre". www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk.
  15. ^ "Eden's Empire". www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk. Finborough Theatre.
  16. ^ "Little Madam". www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk. Finborough Theatre.
  17. ^ "Finborough Theatre". www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk.
  18. ^ Bushtheatre.co.uk Archived 11 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "The Whisky Taster", Bushtheatre.co.uk Archived 24 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Finborough Theatre". www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk.
  21. ^ "Curtis Brown". www.curtisbrown.co.uk.
  22. ^ "This House on Tour - in the UK from February to June 2018". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. 20 April 2016.
  23. ^ Spencer, Charles (22 April 2014). "Privacy, Donmar Warehouse, review" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  24. ^ "The Angry Brigade, Theatre Royal, Plymouth - Kate Maltby". 26 September 2014.
  25. ^ Shao, Yiqing (11 July 2014). "Writer James Graham Talks New Musical Finding Neverland". Boston Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 February 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  26. ^ Mountford, Fiona (7 March 2015). "James Graham interview: meet the writer bringing drama to this year's election race". independent.co.uk. The Independent. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Monster Raving Loony – The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth". Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  28. ^ Kenny, Fred. "Spring 2017 Season - Spring 2017 - What's on & Tickets - Almeida - About Us". almeida.co.uk.
  29. ^ "Labour of Love, a new comedy by James Graham". Labour of Love. Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  30. ^ Supercool (20 August 2017). "Quiz | Chichester Festival Theatre". Chichester Festival Theatre. Archived from the original on 21 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  31. ^ "Hull Truck Theatre". Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  32. ^ "Wilton's Music Hall | James Graham's Sketching". Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Gareth Southgate play starring Joseph Fiennes to hit National Theatre". BBC News. 21 February 2023. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  34. ^ "Boys from the Blackstuff review – powerful portrayals of working-class pride". The Guardian. 31 May 2024. Retrieved 31 May 2024.
  35. ^ Goldbart, Max (16 February 2023). "James Graham, Michael Sheen & Adam Curtis Combine On Dystopian Drama 'The Way' For The BBC". Deadline.

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