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Alan Plater

ALAN PLATER

  (1935 - 2010)

Nationality:    British
email:    n/a     Website:    n/a

Literary Agent:    Alexandra Cann Representation  

Playwright and screenwriter Alan Plater has died of cancer in a London hospice at the age of 75. He was born in Jarrow and his family moved to Hull where he was brought up, returning to Tyneside as an architecture student at King's College, Newcastle (later Newcastle University). He practised for some time until the broadcast of his radio play Smoke Zone persuaded him to take up writing full time in 1961. Best known to the general public as a writer for TV, his credits include many episides of Z Cars (1962 - 78) and 30 of its follow-up Softly, Softly (1966 - 69), as well as the Beiderbecke Affair (1985), the Beiderbecke Tapes (1987) and the Beiderbecke Connection (1988), which starred James Bolam and Barbara Flynn. That trilogy centred around one of the great loves of his life, jazz, which fittingly was an importANT ingredient in his final play for the stage, Looking for Buddy, a co-production between the Octagon, Bolton, and Newcastle's Live Theatre. Other TV work included Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt!, the 70s comedy series starring Bill Maynard, Fortunes of War (1987) with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, the Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000) which starred Judi Dench, Ian Holm, Leslie Caron, Cleo Laine, Billie Whitelaw, Olympia Dukakis, Joan Sims and June Whitfield and was later to become a stage show, also produced and toured by the Octagon, although without the star cast. He also adapted the Barchester Chronicles and MP Chris Mullen's novel A Very British Coup for which he won BAFTA and Emmy awards. On the stage his biggest success was Close the Coalhouse Door, with music by Alex Glasgow, based on the short stories of NE mining writer Sid Chaplin. It premiered to great acclaim and sell-out audiences at the Newcastle Playhouse and was also successfully adapted for television. A very political play, Coalhouse was in many ways typical of him, being firmly on the side of the working man - and, in particular, the NE working man - and mercilessly satirising the ruling classes. Satire was very much part of his work, whether merciless in Coalhouse, fused with nostalgia for a departed Tyneside in Buddy (a vegan takeaway in Wallsend!), or aimed at pretension in the workld of modern art in Charlie's Trousers (2004). His final television play, Joe Maddison's War, set in Newcastle during the Second World War starring Kevin Whately and Robson Green, with a cameo appearance by Sir Derek Jacobi, will be aired by ITV in the autumn. He was president of the Writers' Guild from 1991 to 1994, the recipient of honorary degres from the University of Hull and Northumbria University, and was awarded the CBE for his services to Drama in 2004. He is survived by his second wife and daughter, Janet, who is an actors' agent in Newcastle and is married to Max Roberts, artistic director of Live Theatre in Newcastle, who has directed ten of his plays. He is survived by Shirley Rubinstein [shirley_rubi@icloud.com] (2nd wife), sons Stephen and David as well as Janet - and 3 stepsons, Peter, John & Paul. Also 16 granchildren.
- Obtituary taken from

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

        All Credit To the Lads         And A Little Love Besides         Annie Kenney         Barriers         Beiderbecke and all that Jazz         Blonde Bombshells Of 1943         Charlie Came To Our Town         Charlie's Trousers         Close the Coalhouse Door         Confessions Of A City Supporter         Don't Build A Bridge, Drain the River!         Drums Along the Ginnel         Excursion         Foot On the Earth, A         Fosdyke 2         Fosdyke Saga, The         Going Home         Greenvoe         Hearing Voices         Hop, Step And Jump         I Thought I Heard A Rustling         In Blackberry Time         King Billy Vaudeville Show         Last Days Of the Empire, The         Looking for Buddy         Mating Season, The         NE1         On Your Way, Riley!         Only A Matter Of Time         Our Albert         Peggy For You         Prez         Rainbow Machine, The         Referees, The         Rent Party         See the Pretty Lights         Shooting the Legend         Simon Says!         Skyhooks         Smashing Day, A         Swallows On the Water         Sweet Sorrow         Sweet William         Tales From the Backyard         Tales From the Golden Slipper         Tales Of Humberside         Ted's Cathedral         Tigers Are Coming - OK?, The         Trinity Tales         Well Good Night then         What On the Landing?, The         Wor Tony and the Great White Shark



All Credit To the Lads

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And A Little Love Besides

Synopsis:
Pederasty confronts a religious group who are then surprised by the reaction of the vicar.

Notes:
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1st Produced:
Arts Centre, Hull    1970

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "You and Me: four plays", ed Alfred Bradley, Blackie, London, 1973   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  4            Female:  4            Other:  -

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Annie Kenney

Synopsis:
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Notes:
televised 1974

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-    -

Company:
-

1st Published:
in Act 3, ed David Self and Ray Speakman,    -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

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-

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Barriers

Synopsis:
Following their triumph with 'Greenvoe' in 2000, the Orcadians return with 'Barriers', a tough and tender love story of the Italian POW invasion of Orkney during World War II.

Notes:
music by Peter Maxwell Davies.

1st Produced:

Company:
St Magnus Festival Players

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

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Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Beiderbecke and all that Jazz

Synopsis:
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Notes:
bizarre mystery Accomapnied by the jazz sounds

1st Produced:

Company:
Kenny Baker Sextet

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:
Mystery

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Blonde Bombshells Of 1943

Synopsis:
the simple but enchantingly effective play about a northern women's dance band during the 2nd World War war doesn't just pay tribute to the unsung acts of solidarity that kept Britain going during its darkest hours - it also celebrates the near-magical, care banishing properties of music.
Dominic Cavensish, Daily Telegraph

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Genre:
Musical Play Musical

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  7            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Charlie Came To Our Town

Synopsis:
about an eccentric anarchist

Notes:
televised As the Nutter 1965. Music by Alex Glasgow

1st Produced:

Company:
Harrogate Festival of Arts and Sciences

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Musical

Parts:
Male:  7            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Charlie's Trousers

Synopsis:
It's nearly midnight at the Bedewell Art Gallery. Kev, a security guard, is doing his rounds, when his old mate Nev appears in the gallery with an unlikely excuse. Kev isn't convinced though and neither is Nev he's there on a 'need to know' basis, but doesn't know why. When the mysterious Bev drops in, things take a Dramatic turn and all eyes are suddenly on the wooden packing case in the centre of the room. On a new Tyneside where there are more art galleries than shipyards, Kev, Nev and Bev confront some perplexing questions. Who is Charlie? Are these really his trousers? And what's so special about Liverpool? Alan Plater's comedy takes a light-hearted look at love, live, the universe and ART.
- http://www.arts-archive.co.uk/index.php?pg=12&action=work&genre=P&gname=Play&wid=S0999961230

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Genre:
Comedy play Comedy

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Close the Coalhouse Door

Close the Coalhouse Door
A hymn of unqualified praise to the miner's circles around a golden wedding party

Notes:
music by Alex Glasgow. Adaptation of stories by Sid Chaplin

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Methuen Drama    978-1852244897

Music:
-

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Genre:
Musical Documentary Musical

Parts:
Male:  8            Female:  2            Other:  extras

Further Reference:
-

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Confessions Of A City Supporter

Synopsis:
Local history is brought to life by four generations of a Hull family. Along the way the play recreates key moments from the team's sporting past ('mostly when we were cheated by referees,' says the writer). It also suggests ways of dealing with Arsenal and Manchester United supporters, explains why league tables never tell the truth and celebrates the Sacred Legend of Great-Grandad's Cloth Cap!

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  1            Other:  doubling

Further Reference:
-

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Don't Build A Bridge, Drain the River!

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
music by Michael Chapman & Mike Waterson (revised version, music by by Mike O'Neil, produced Hull, 1980

1st Produced:

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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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Drums Along the Ginnel

Synopsis:
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1st Produced:
London    1977

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-   -

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Genre:
Play/Drama

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Further Reference:
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Excursion

Synopsis:
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1st Produced:
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1st Published:
Contained in: "Playbill Three" published by Nelson Thornes 1969   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
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Parts:
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Further Reference:
National Library of Scotland ref: Traverse - Dep.256/Box 54/4

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Foot On the Earth, A

Synopsis:
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1st Produced:
Newcastle upon Tyne    1984

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1st Published:
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Music:
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Genre:
Play/Drama

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Fosdyke 2

Synopsis:
continuing the problems and fortunes of the cartoon characters

Notes:
written with Bill Tidy

1st Produced:
London    1977

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Fosdyke Saga, The

Synopsis:
based on a cartoon character, the time is 1902 and the Fosdyke tripe business is falling apart

Notes:
written with Bill Tidy, music Bill Wrigley

1st Produced:
London    1977

Company:
Marlowe Players

1st Published:
Samuel French, London, 1978   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  10            Female:  6            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Going Home

Synopsis:
deals with the long journey from then to Now, the stops along the way and the music that haunts our dreams

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Square One, London, 1990   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  6            Female:  4            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Greenvoe

Synopsis:
story of a small village on a small Orcadian island, as the modern generation try to hold their own against the incoming tide of change, their struggles and triumphs are found to worthy of the ancient legends of their ancestors.
Fiona McCade, Scotsman

Notes:
an Adaption of George Mackay Brown's novel for the St. Magnus Festival Players, first performed At the St.Magnus Festival & then At the Edinburgh Festival in Aug. 2000/2001

1st Produced:
Old St Paul's Church, Scotland    2000

Company:
St Magnus Festival

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Hearing Voices

Synopsis:
Join us for an evening with much loved writer Alan Plater, with friends from Live, as he explores the music of the English language as it is spoken and asks the question: Is this the true heartbeat of Drama? Plus a Today Play
- http://www.arts-archive.co.uk/index.php?pg=12&action=work&genre=N&gname=One+person+show&wid=S636842443

Notes:
one person show

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
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Music:
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Genre:
Piece

Parts:
Male:  1            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Hop, Step And Jump

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Scarborough    1967

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  4            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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I Thought I Heard A Rustling

I Thought I Heard A Rustling
the proposed closure of a London library unite disparate trio in their attempts to stop the development

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Amber Lane Press, Oxford, 1991   978-1872868042

Music:
-

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Genre:
Comedy

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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In Blackberry Time

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
with Michael Chaplin - Adapted from stories by Sid Chaplin

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:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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King Billy Vaudeville Show

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
written with others

1st Produced:

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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Last Days Of the Empire, The

Synopsis:
Set back stage in a decrepit old variety theatre, our heroes are an unlikely bunch of jobbing musicians. the lead singer has run off with two nude posers and the act is in trouble. Mike and Peggy Gorman's variety act - known as Pedro Gonzalez and his Caribbean rhythm - are faced with disaster unless they can get a new lead singer. Little do they guess that Joe is about to come to their rescue, but Joe is unlike anyone they've ever met. . .
- http://www.arts-archive.co.uk/index.php?pg=12&action=work&genre=P&gname=Play&wid=S1287927982

Notes:
music by John Dankworth

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Looking for Buddy

Synopsis:
Alan Plater which continues his fascination with jazz music that he explored in his TV series the Beiderbecke Affair and its sequels. Tim Healy stars as unemployed architect Phil in Wallsend on Tyneside who quotes Raymond Chandler and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of early jazz. It is therefore an amazing coincidence when a beautiful blonde walks into his office by mistake looking for the private detective downstairs to ask him to find a lost recording of jazz musician Buddy Bolden whom Phil knows for certain died without ever making a recording. Or perhaps it isn't a coincidence.
- David Chadderton, British theatre Guide

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
Octagon, Bolton, and Live, Newcastle, co-production

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
musical play

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Mating Season, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
broadcast 1962

1st Produced:
Stoke on Trent    1963

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Worth a Hearing: a collection of radio plays", edited by Alfred Bradley, Blackie, London, 1967   -

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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NE1

Synopsis:
life on Tyneside in the year 2000

Notes:
part of A show of 12 monologues

1st Produced:

Company:
Live Theatre Company

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
short monologue

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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On Your Way, Riley!

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
music by Alex Glasgow

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

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Only A Matter Of Time

Synopsis:
Once upon a time an Englishman met a Welshman in a field. . . he was there to tell him the right time. It's hard for us to imagine these days that in Victorian times Britain had a difference in time of half-an-hour from the eastern to the western extremities. the play begins with the arrival of an Englishman representing Brunel: he comes to tell the Welsh that due to railway expansion, time needs to be standardised. Plater's comedy tells of the consequences over the next 180 years

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

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Our Albert

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

Booksellers:

Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Peggy For You

Peggy For You
A day in the life of Peggy Ramsay, the most celebrated play agent of her time

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Methuen Drama    978-0413748102

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:  3            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Prez

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
music by Bernie Cash

1st Produced:

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-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Rainbow Machine, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
broadcast 1962

1st Produced:
Stoke on Trent    1963

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Referees, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
televised 1961

1st Produced:
Stoke on Trent    1963

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Rent Party

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
from An idea by Nat Shapiro

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Company:
-

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-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Musical

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Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

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See the Pretty Lights

Synopsis:
teenage girl and middle-aged man meet at the end of a pier

Notes:
televised 1963; produced London 1970

1st Produced:
Scarborough    1965

Company:
-

1st Published:
in "Theatre Choice, a collection of modern short plays", ed Michael Marland, Blackie, London, 1972   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play One Act

Parts:
Male:  1            Female:  1            Other:  -

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Shooting the Legend

Synopsis:
a comedy of cultural errors in which two women prepare to make a documentary about the 'socially deprived' of Gateshead

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne    1995

Company:
Live Theatre

1st Published:

Music:
-

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Simon Says!

Synopsis:
a wholesale attack on the British Ruling classes as represented by Lord Thing, the chairman of the MCC - John Elsom, Contemporary Dramatists

Notes:
music by Alex Glasgow

1st Produced:
Leeds    1970

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Skyhooks

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Oldham, Lancashire    1982

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Smashing Day, A

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
televised 1962. Music by Ben Kingsley & Robert Powell

1st Produced:
Stoke on Trent    1965

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  4            Female:  4            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Swallows On the Water

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Sweet Sorrow

Synopsis:
about a party and a gatecrasher with a special gift for sticking pins in party balloons, whether he makes the party or spoils it depends how you feel about pretty balloons

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Square One, London, 1990   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  2            Other:  -

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Sweet William

Synopsis:
Shakespeare shares a pint down at the Tabbard Tavern with the cut-purses, prostitutes, tradesmen and dreamers who provide the inspiration for the Dramatis personae of the less elevated scenes in his theatrical oeuvre. - Marlowe, the Times

Notes:
one person show

1st Produced:
Viaduct Theatre, Halifax, West Yorkshire    17 Feb 2005

Company:
Northern Broadsides

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  10            Female:  4            Other:  -

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Tales From the Backyard

Synopsis:
the Orcadians return with the legend of Orkney's oldest 'nightclub.' A tale of enterprise and entertainment on the edge! Written by Alan Plater with music by Peter Maxwell Davies.

Notes:
music by Perter Maxwell Davies

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Parts:
Male:  5            Female:  3            Other:  doubling

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Tales From the Golden Slipper

Synopsis:
Travellers come to Orkney for the tranquillity, the standing stones or the exotic wildlife. It is probably fair to say that no one goes there for the nightlife. On a blustery Saturday evening at Kirkwall harbour, the sole nightclub on the islands has a poster advertising an Iron Maiden tribute band. A pair of bouncers, in the absence of people to bounce, stand watching seagulls wheeling over Scapa Flow. It wasn't always like this. In the 1940s, the local youth, along with hundreds of servicemen stationed on the islands, flocked to the Golden Slipper, Orkney's most notorious house of ill-repute. Located on the outskirts of the ancient settlement of Stenness, the Golden Slipper was essentially the front room of the house belonging to Willie Farquhar, who would jovially dispense illicit whisky to all-comers in chipped tea cups. When the premises were finally closed down by the authorities in the 1960s, Farquhar was described in the local paper as Orkney's answer to Al Capone. Now the legend of Willie and his riotous shebeen-cum-speakeasy has been resurrected in a community play.
Alfred Hickling, Guardian

Notes:
words by the playwright Alan Plater And music by Orkney's most celebrated resident composer, Peter Maxwell Davies

1st Produced:
Orkney Arts Theatre, Kirkwall    2007

Company:
Kirkwall's St Magnus Festival

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Community Play

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  large cast

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Tales Of Humberside

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
music by Jim Bywater

1st Produced:

Company:
-

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-   -

Music:
-

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Ted's Cathedral

Synopsis:
about a builder's labourer

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Victoria Theatre, Stoke on Trent    1963

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Amiable Fantasy

Parts:
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Tigers Are Coming - OK?, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Trinity Tales

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
music by Alex Glasgow

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Well Good Night then

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Hull    1978

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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What On the Landing?, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
broadcast 1967; produced London 1971

1st Produced:
Coventry    1968

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play One Act

Parts:
Male:  6            Female:  2            Other:  -

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Wor Tony and the Great White Shark

Synopsis:
You can make people believe anything, as long as you believe it yourself, according to Davie's brother Tony. Just be sincere and don't give yourself away by laughing. If you're good, you can fool everyone. . .almost.
- http://www.arts-archive.co.uk/index.php?pg=12&action=work&genre=P&gname=Play&wid=S1416718858

Notes:
-

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-

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-

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