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Henry Livings

HENRY LIVINGS

  (1929 - 1998)

Nationality:    English
email:    n/a     Website:    n/a

Literary Agent:    n/a

Henry Livings (20 September 1929  20 February 1998) was an English playwright and screenwriter, who worked extensively in British television and theatre from the 1960s to the 1990s. He was born in Prestwich, Lancashire, but Scotland bit deep into his surreal writing. He referred in correspondence to: ''Delph and Debcross in deep Pennines, where there is pottery and angst, where whippets play in brass bands, and where our better-class neighbours avoid London to live and imbibe in Scotland.'' In 1956, as a ''spear-throwing rather than carrying'' member of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, he met his wife, Judith Frances (Fanny) Carter, in Dundee. He is survived by her and their two children, Toby and Maria. Since 1982 he had lived with a friend from his Liverpool Univer-sity days, Myra Bremmer. She lovingly abetted him through hard-drinking nights and pipe-smoking days that enlivened and asphyxiated lecture and workshop audiences who eventually became friends. He was a prolific writer. Since Stop It Whoever You Are (1961), there have been 32 stage plays and a marvellous sequence of 14 ''scenarios with fictions'' entitled The Pongo Plays (1969-76). These are dramatic sketches, based on Japanese and Kyogan plays, featuring one Sam Pongo - a weaver who questions the didactic certainties of a master. They are killingly funny, and deserve theatrical serialisation. Though his finest plays were written in the sixties - Kelly's Eye (1963), EH? (1964), The Little Mrs Foster Show (1966) - he reached new audiences with idiosyncratic episodes for such TV shows as Juliet Bravo and Bulman. His last publication was ''a rueful and mendacious theatrical memoir'', The Rough Side of the Boards (1994). From its hilarious pages, we learn that falling in love with the female playing Lechery in Dr Faustus in 1952 started ''a life on the boards aimed at the bored''. This social ambition coincided with a brief autobiographical note in Contemporary British Dramatists (1981): ''To me, a show is an opportunity for communal imaginings, actors and audiences together, for which I - alone - provide the material.'' Professionally, Livings attracted great actors and directors. Peter Hall directed the London production of EH?. Nicol Williamson was in Kelly's Eye. The 1966 New York production of EH? featured the then unknown Dustin Hoffman. But it was through small companies and university groups that ''most folk learnt of my Miss Takes''. In 1978, in a dreary and very glum BBC programme about ''language and significance'', he said: ''A pun is necessary, you fools. It is necessary for nonsense, it questions our security in the solidity of words.'' Silver-tongued as ever, he clucked through an early seventies production of this writer's earnest direction of Good Grief in Dublin. He slept through a Nottingham version of his adaptation of Kleist's Jug on the Edinburgh Fringe in 1992, and, most of all, in 1968, he attached himself to a Traverse mis-production of a People's Show, where he defin-itely made spear-throwing at crumpled little people fun. - herald Scotland

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below is a list of Henry Livings's plays - click on a Play Title for more information

        After the Last Lamp         Astounding Adventures Of Tom Thumb, The         Barber Of Seville, The         Beewine         Big Soft Nellie         Boggart, The         Brainscrew         Cinderella: A Likely Tale         Conciliation         Daft Sam         Day Dumfounded Got His Pylon, The         Don't Touch Him, He Might Resent It         Eh?         Ffinest Ffamily In the Land, The         Gamecock, The         Glorious Miles         Good Grief!         Great Camel Rumbles, The, And Groans And Spits         Grup         Honour And Offer         Jack And the Beanstalk         Jonah         Jug         Kelly's Eye         Little Mrs Foster Show, The         Mushrooms And Toadstools         Nil Carborundum         Pie Eating Contest         Pongo Plays 1 - 6         Public, The         Rattel         Reasons For Flying, The         Rent Man, The         Rifle Volunteer, The         Rough Side Of the Boards, The         Six More Pongo Plays Including Two For Children         Stop It, Whoever You Are         Stop the Children's Laughter         Tailor's Britches, The         there's No Room For You Here For A Start         This Is My Dream: the Life And Times Of Josephine Baker         This Jockey Drives Late Nights         Tiddles         Variable Lengths And Longer         Your're Free



After the Last Lamp

Synopsis:
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Genre:
Play/Drama

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Male:  3            Female:  1            Other:  -

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-

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Astounding Adventures Of Tom Thumb, The

Synopsis:
-

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-

1st Produced:
London    1979

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Childrens Youth audience

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Barber Of Seville, The

Synopsis:
Figaro the barber lacks an inborn notion of status but does possess a keen knowledge of how to operate the levers of society

Notes:
Original Playwright - Beaumarchais

1st Produced:
Stoke-on-Trent    1989

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
adaptation

Parts:
Male:  8            Female:  1            Other:  extras

Further Reference:
-

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Beewine

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1st Produced:

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1st Published:
in "Pongo Plays 1 - 6",Methuen, London, 1971   -

Music:
-

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-

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Big Soft Nellie

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
aka Thacred Nit

1st Produced:
Keswick, Cumberland    1961

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Kelly's eye and Other Plays, Methuen, London, 1964   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Comedy

Parts:
Male:  5            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Boggart, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
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1st Published:
in "Pongo Plays 1 - 6",Methuen, London, 1971   -

Music:
-

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-

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-

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Brainscrew

Synopsis:
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Notes:
televised 1966.

1st Produced:

Company:
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1st Published:
in "Second Playbill 3", Hutchinson, London, 1973   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
One act

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  1            Other:  -

Further Reference:
National Library of Scotland ref: Traverse - Dep.256/Box 41/4

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Cinderella: A Likely Tale

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
from story by Perrault

1st Produced:
Stoke-on-Trent    1972

Company:
-

1st Published:
Dobson, London, 1976   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
adaptation

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Conciliation

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Lincoln    1970

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Pongo Plays 1 - 6",Methuen, London, 1971   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

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Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Daft Sam

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
televised 1972

1st Produced:
London    1976

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Six More Pongo Plays", Eyre Methuen, London, 1974   -

Music:
-

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Further Reference:
-

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Day Dumfounded Got His Pylon, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
broadcast 1963

1st Produced:
Stoke-on-Trent    1965

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Worth a Hearing", Blackie, London, 1967   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  4            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Don't Touch Him, He Might Resent It

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
Original Playwright - Nikolai Gogol

1st Produced:
Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire    1984

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Plays 1" Oberon, London, 1999   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
adaptation

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  9 characters

Further Reference:
-

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Eh?

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
London    1964

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

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Genre:
Farce

Parts:
Male:  4            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Ffinest Ffamily In the Land, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Lincoln    1970

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  5 characters

Further Reference:
-

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Gamecock, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Manchester    1969

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Pongo Plays 1 - 6",Methuen, London, 1971   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

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Further Reference:
-

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Glorious Miles

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
televised 1973

1st Produced:
Sheffield    1975

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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-

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Good Grief!

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
includes After the Last Lamp, You're Free, Variable Lengths, Pie-eating Contest, Does It Make Your Cheeks Ache?, the Reasons For Flying.

1st Produced:
Manchester    1967

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
National Library of Scotland ref: Traverse - Dep.256/Box 41/4

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Great Camel Rumbles, The, And Groans And Spits

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Waterloo, Ontario    1988

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "New Plays 1", Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988   -

Music:
-

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-

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Grup

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
I was Asked, Along with 4 other musicians from Oldham if we'd like to play in this production. I was A FT music student At the time And in the summer holidays so the income (as well As the experience) was of great value to me. there was quite A large And well know cast, so perhaps if you come into contact with Any of them they may be Able to give you more info. the play itself was A humorous take-off of Nikolai Gogol's "the Government Inspector" - if I remember correctly, And was transplanted into A hotel set in Leeds. As such, the hotel orchestra consisted of 5 brass band instruments And we played on the stage, mimicking A kind of grotesque Palm Court Orchestra, but with Northern working class overtones. I played the euphonium And At one point in the play I had A kind of obbligato to play - getting out of my chair, walking Around the stage And interacting with Philip Lowrie who played one of the starring roles. (Newly married to Gaye Soper's character). Other names I remember Are Barbara Mullaney (now Knox), A guy called Pitt (or Pip) Wilkinson, Vicky Ireland, Gaye Soper, Peter Dudley, Jonty Miller, of course As mentioned, Phillip Lowrie And quite A few more whose names sadly escape me now. 1 was An established Actor called Paul ??Robinson?? And Another was called Martyn ??? - I think he played in one of the Mr Bean episodes. the music was written specially for the production by Derek Broadbent. My first recollection is of meeting with Henry Livings And Derek Broadbent And the other musicians in A pub in Delph (probably Henry's local) to discuss the details. the play ran for 3 weeks in (I think) July 1971 And there was some talk of it going on to the West end, but it never happened. the other brass players names I remember Are: Bob Taylor - Cornet; John Mansfield - Cornet; George Gibson - Tenor Horn; Ron Ibbotson - Trombone & myself, John Sullivan - euphonium. We were billed As the "Ron Ibbotson Five" though we didn't exist As such outside the play. I still have (somewhere) one of the photos of us that was displayed outside the theatre! I was so proud to see our picture there & the whole summer was A really wonderful experience!
- John B Sullivan [symphonics4all-maestro@yahoo.co.uk]

1st Produced:
York    1971

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Honour And Offer

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Cincinnati    1968

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  10 characters

Further Reference:
-

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Jack And the Beanstalk

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
music by Alex Glasgow

1st Produced:
London    1974

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Jonah

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Manchester    1974

Company:
-

1st Published:
Pulpit Press, London, 1975   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Jug

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
Original Playwright - Heinrich von Kleist

1st Produced:
Nottingham    1975

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
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Genre:
adaptation

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Kelly's Eye

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
London    1963

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Kelly's eye and Other Plays, Methuen, London, 1964   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  7            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Little Mrs Foster Show, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Liverpool    1966

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  6            Female:  4            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Mushrooms And Toadstools

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
London    1970

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Six More Pongo Plays", Eyre Methuen, London, 1974   -

Music:
-

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If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Nil Carborundum

Nil Carborundum
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
London    1962

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "New English Dramatists Vol.6" Penguin, London, 1963   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Comedy

Parts:
Male:  22            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Pie Eating Contest

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
-    -

Company:
-

1st Published:
Contained in: "Good Grief" published by Methuen 1968   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Pongo Plays 1 - 6

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
the Gamecock; Rattel; the Boggart; Beewine; the Rifle Volunteer; Conciliation

1st Produced:
-    -

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Public, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
Original Playwright - Federico Garcia Lorca

1st Produced:
London    1988

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Lorca, Plays: Three", Methuen, London, 1991   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
adaptation. - - Gay, theme/character full length

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Rattel

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Manchester    1969

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Pongo Plays 1 - 6",Methuen, London, 1971   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Reasons For Flying, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
-    -

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Comedy Drama Comedy

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Rent Man, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Stoke-on-Trent    1972

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Six More Pongo Plays", Eyre Methuen, London, 1974   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
-

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Rifle Volunteer, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Pongo Plays 1 - 6",Methuen, London, 1971   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
-

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Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

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Rough Side Of the Boards, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Octagon, Bolton    1997

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Six More Pongo Plays Including Two For Children

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
-    -

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

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-

Parts:
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Stop It, Whoever You Are

Stop It, Whoever You Are
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
London    1961

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "New English Dramatists Vol.5" Penguin, London, 1962   B0000CLJZL

Music:
-

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Genre:
Comedy

Parts:
Male:  9            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Stop the Children's Laughter

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Bolton, Greater Manchester    1990

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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-

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Tailor's Britches, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Stoke-on-Trent    1973

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Six More Pongo Plays", Eyre Methuen, London, 1974   -

Music:
-

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there's No Room For You Here For A Start

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
-    -

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Kelly's eye and Other Plays, Methuen, London, 1964   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Comedy

Parts:
Male:  10            Female:  4            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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This Is My Dream: the Life And Times Of Josephine Baker

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
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This Jockey Drives Late Nights

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
Original Playwright - Leo Tolstoy

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Eyre Methuen, London, 1972   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
adaptation

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Tiddles

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Six More Pongo Plays", Eyre Methuen, London, 1974   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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-

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Variable Lengths And Longer

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
includes the Reasons For Flying, Does It Make Your Cheeks Ache?

1st Produced:
London    1969

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
-

Parts:
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Your're Free

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
London    1970

Company:
-

1st Published:

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  1            Female:  1            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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