John Whiting

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For other people named John Whiting, see John Whiting (disambiguation).
John Whiting

John Robert Whiting (15 November 1917 – 16 June 1963) was an English actor, dramatist and critic.

Born in Salisbury, he was educated at Taunton School.[1] "the particular hellish life which is the English public school" as he described it. Trained at RADA, he then worked as an actor in repertory, and while in the company at Bideford in Devon, met the actress Asthore Lloyd Mawson (Jackie). At the start of the Second World War, as a lifelong pacifist, he registered as a conscientious objector, but soon after changed his mind and joined the anti-aircraft section of the Royal Artillery: his wartime experiences as a soldier were to mark a profound change in his life and work. In 1940, he married Jackie, and in 1944 he was discharged from the army for health reasons.

From 1946 till 1952, while writing, he again worked as an actor, as a member of John Gielgud's company, and also, in 1951, winning first prize in the Festival of Britain play competition for Saint's Day. His works include:

  • No More A-Roving (1947)
  • Conditions of Agreement (1947)
  • Saint's Day (1947–49)
  • A Penny for a Song. A play (1951)
  • Marching Song. A play (1953)
  • The Gates of Summer. A play (1956)
  • No Why (1957)
  • The Devils. A play (1960) based on the book The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley
  • The Art of the Dramatist (1970)

He also wrote un unpublished novel, Not a Foot of Land, and wartime diaries, as well as an account of his meeting and courtship of Jackie. He was drama critic for the London Magazine and a very active member of the Arts Council in encouraging new writing for the theatre.

John Whiting had four children: Jonathan, Mark, Teresa and Catherine. Whiting died from cancer in London, England, at the age of 45.

In 1965, the John Whiting Award was established to commemorate the writer's contribution to post-war British theatre.


  1. ^ Pine, L. G., ed., The Author's and Writer's Who's Who, 4th ed., 1960, p.418

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