Bryony Lavery

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Bryony Lavery (born 1947) is a British dramatist, known for her successful and award-winning 1998 play Frozen. In addition to her work in theatre, she has also written for television and radio. She has written books including the biography Tallulah Bankhead and The Woman Writer's Handbook, and taught playwriting at Birmingham University.


Lavery grew up in Dewsbury.[1]

Having begun her career as an actress, she decided that she was fed up with playing poor parts in plays, such as the left arm of a sofa, and decided to write plays with better parts for women.[citation needed] Early in her career she founded a theatre company called Les Oeufs Malades with actors Gerard Bell and Jessica Higgs, she also founded Female Trouble, More Female Trouble and served as artistic director of Gay Sweatshop.

Her plays have a feminist undertone in them[2] and she has written plays (like More Light which has only one male speaking role) with almost entirely female casts. She has written more than twenty plays since 1976.[3] She has authored translations of foreign works such as her 2007 version of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.[citation needed] She has written five plays for the National Theatre Connections series. Frozen triggered a controversy and discussion about artistic sources and plagiarism and was the subject of a piece by Malcolm Gladwell published in The New Yorker and also collected in his book What the Dog Saw. In addition she also adapted Treasure Island, the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, into a play which was first performed on the Olivier Stage of the National Theatre, London, on 3 December 2014.[citation needed]

She was married to a man until her early thirties, but now identifies as gay.[1]

Selected works[edit]

  • The Two Marias (1988) – Theatre Centre
  • Her Aching Heart (1992)
  • Peter Pan (1991) – a pantomime
  • Goliath (1997)
  • More Light (1997) – National Theatre Connections
  • Frozen (1998)
  • The Magic Toyshop (2001)
  • A Wedding Story (2000)
  • Illyria (play) (2002) – NT Connections
  • Last Easter (2004)
  • Stockholm (2007) – Frantic Assembly
  • Red Sky (2007, play) – NT Connections
  • It Snows (2008, play) – NT Connections
  • Breathing Underwater (1998 radio play) – BBC Radio 7
  • Kursk (2009, play) – Young Vic
  • Beautiful Burnout (2010) – Frantic Assembly / National Theatre of Scotland
  • Dirt (2012, play) – Studio Theatre
  • The Believers (2014, play) – Tricycle Theatre

Stage adaptations[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Theatre Profile: An Interview with Bryony Lavery". Paula Citron | Critic, Broadcaster, Arts Journalist. 18 May 2012. Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  2. ^ [1] Guardian Interview UK
  3. ^ Interview: "Comedy of terrors" The Observer UK
  4. ^ "Swallows and Amazons". Storyhouse. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  5. ^ "The Book of Dust - La Belle Savauage". The Bridge Theatre. Retrieved 31 December 2019.

External links[edit]