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Summary Article: Edgar, David
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


♦ English dramatist

Born in Birmingham, he studied drama at Manchester University, and was a journalist in Bradford before deciding to write for the stage full time. Destiny (1976), a large-scale play looking at the roots of fascism in British society, was produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). His eight-hour adaptation of Dickens's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby for the RSC (1980) brought his work to a massive audience and won awards in London and New York. Maydays (1983), the first contemporary play to be presented by the RSC at the Barbican Theatre in London, was similarly ambitious. Other works include Entertaining Strangers (1985), The Shape of the Table (1990), which charts the negotiations between a Communist government and the forces acting against it in the autumn of 1989, the television documentary Civil War (1991), the radio play A Movie Starring Me (1991), many adaptations, including The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1991), and the hit play Pentecost (1994), which deals with ethnic strife in eastern Europe. He was appointed honorary professor by the University of Birmingham in 1992. He was commissioned to write his major two-part drama Continental Divide (2003) by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Recent plays include Playing with Fire (2005), an attack on New Labour, and Testing the Echo (2008), on British values and multiculturalism.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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