London Playwright Wesker Knighted

News   London Playwright Wesker Knighted
Playwright Arnold Wesker has been knighted in the British New Year Honours list.

The dramatist first took his place in British theatrical history in the 1950s and 60s with the Royal Court productions of Chicken Soup With Barley, Roots and I’m Talking About Jerusalem, later known as the The Wesker Trilogy.

In his early plays the driving force of Wesker’s writing was his own experience of growing up in London’s Stepney.

When Chicken Soup opened at the Royal Court in 1958, the autobiographically based play, featuring a politicized Jewish family in pre- and post-war East London, propelled Wesker into the vanguard of a theatrical revolution headed by the original “Angry Young Man,” John Osborne.

To the bewilderment of Wesker and more objective observers, British artistic directors have all-too- often ignored the dramatist’s conspicuous canon. But 2005 saw a resurgence of the dramatist’s work in his home country.

While a Nottingham Playhouse production of Chicken Soup transferred to the north London’s Tricycle Theatre, Wesker’s latest play, Longitude, received its premiere at the Greenwich Theatre. Last year also saw the publication of the 74 year-old writer’s first novel, “Honey,” whose heroine Beattie is drawn from Roots. And, in 2006 there are also plans to stage another new play, Groupie at Kevin Spacey’s Old Vic.

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