Caryl Churchill (1938- ) born in London, Churchill grew up in the Lake District and in Canada before studying English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She began writing in the 1960s, with student productions of her early plays and then radio plays for the BBC, while raising her three sons. Churchill’s stage works developed during the upsurge of alternative theatre companies of the late 1970s and she served as resident dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre from 1974-1975. Many plays were developed through workshops with feminist company Monstrous Regiment, such as Vinegar Tom (1976) and particularly the new writing collective, Joint Stock Theatre Company. Some of her plays were scripted as part of a company devising process, such as Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (1976); Cloud Nine (1979); Fen (1983), working in particular with director Max Stafford-Clark. Open to experiment with form, her work has encompassed collaborations with opera and dance companies like Second Stride, such as Lives of the Great Poisoners (1991). Other plays include: Owners (1972); Traps (1978); Objections to Sex and Violence (1975); Serious Money (1987); Softcops (1984); Hot Fudge (1989);The Skriker (1994); Blue Heart (1997); Far Away (2000); A Number (2002) and Drunk Enough To Say I Love You (2006). In 1982, Churchill won an Obie Award for Playwriting for Top Girls and in 1983 Top Girls was the runner-up for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Top Girls has been widely performed, published and translated and is now studied as part of the National Curriculum. Polly Stenham, playwright: “She was a big inspiration to me in terms of writing. I first came across her when they did Top Girls at school. I was about 14, and I thought: “What the f***’s this? This is brilliant.” … I think that was my first introduction to how far you could go.’ “Why Caryl Churchill is the Top Girl” The Times, September 1st, 2008
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