READ Famous Playwrights from England

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List of notable or famous playwrights from England, with bios and photos, including the top playwrights born in England and even some popular playwrights who immigrated to England. If you're trying to find out the names of famous English playwrights then this list is the perfect resource for you. These playwrights are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known playwright from England is included when available.

A factual list, featuring people like Aphra Behn and Ben Elton.

This historic playwrights from England list can help answer the questions "Who are some English playwrights of note?" and "Who are the most famous playwrights from England?" These prominent playwrights of England may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected English playwrights.

Use this list of renowned English playwrights to discover some new playwrights that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. (310 items)

1
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
T. S. Eliot Died at 77 (1888-1965) Thomas Stearns Eliot OM, usually known as T. S. Eliot, was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and "one of the twentieth century's major poets". He was born ...more

2
Ben Elton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Ben Elton age 58 Benjamin Charles "Ben" Elton is an English comedian, author, playwright, actor and director. He was a part of London's alternative comedy movement of the 1980s and became a writer on ...more

3
Anthony Burgess is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Anthony Burgess Died at 76 (1917-1993) John Anthony Burgess Wilson, FRSL – who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess – was an English writer and composer. From relatively modest beginnings in a Catholic family in Manchester, ...more

4
Sarah Kane is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Sarah Kane Died at 28 (1971-1999) Sarah Kane was an English playwright. Her plays deal with themes of redemptive love, sexual desire, pain, torture — both physical and psychological — and death. They are characterised by a ...more

5
Harold Pinter is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Harold Pinter Died at 78 (1930-2008) Harold Pinter, CH, CBE was a Nobel Prize-winning English playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than ...more

6
Noël Coward is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Noël Coward Died at 74 (1899-1973) Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a ...more

7
Alan Bennett is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Alan Bennett age 83 Alan Bennett is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. He was born in Leeds and attended Oxford University where he studied history and performed with the Oxford Revue. He stayed ...more

8
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Graham Greene Died at 87 (1904-1991) Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist and author regarded as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene had ...more

9
Robert Bolt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Robert Bolt Died at 71 (1924-1995) Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter, known for writing the screenplays for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and A Man for All Seasons, ...more

10
P. G. Wodehouse is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
P. G. Wodehouse Died at 94 (1881-1975) Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE was an English humourist whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, humorous verses, poems, song lyrics, and magazine articles. He enjoyed ...more

11
Terence Rattigan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Terence Rattigan Died at 66 (1911-1977) Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan, CBE was a British dramatist. He was one of England's most popular mid twentieth century dramatists. His plays are typically set in an upper-middle-class background. ...more

12
Joe Orton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Joe Orton Died at 34 (1933-1967) John Kingsley "Joe" Orton was an English playwright and author. His public career was short but prolific, lasting from 1964 until his death three years later. During this brief period ...more

13
Peter Wildeblood is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Peter Wildeblood Died at 76 (1923-1999) Peter Wildeblood was an Anglo-Canadian journalist, novelist, playwright and gay rights campaigner. He was one of the first men in the UK to publicly declare his homosexuality.

14
John Dryden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
John Dryden Died at 69 (1631-1700) John Dryden was an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was made Poet Laureate in 1668. He is seen as dominating the literary life of Restoration England to such a point ...more

15
Laura Wade is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Laura Wade age 40 Laura Wade is an English playwright.

16
Benjamin Zephaniah is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Benjamin Zephaniah age 59 Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is an English writer, dub poet and Rastafari. He was included in The Times list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers in 2008.

17
Ben Jonson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Ben Jonson Died at 65 (1572-1637) Ben Jonson was an English playwright, poet, and literary critic of the seventeenth century, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the ...more

18
William Corlett is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
William Corlett Died at 67 (1938-2005) William Corlett, was an English author, best known for his quartet of children's novels, The Magician's House, published between 1990 and 1992.

19
Charlotte Lennox is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Charlotte Lennox Died at 74 (1730-1804) "Mrs Lenox was the author of "The Female Quixote" and various other works . In he "Shakespeare Illustrated" she gives an account of the source of whence the poet derived ...more

20
Aphra Behn is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Aphra Behn Died at 49 (1640-1689) Aphra Behn [Aphara] was a British playwright, poet, translator and fiction writer from the Restoration era. As one of the first English women to earn her living by her writing, she broke ...more

21
Jane West is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Jane West Died at 94 (1758-1852) Jane West, who published as Prudentia Homespun and Mrs. West, was an English novelist, poet, playwright, and writer of conduct literature and educational tracts.

22
John Galsworthy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
John Galsworthy Died at 66 (1867-1933) John Galsworthy OM was an English novelist and playwright. Notable works include The Forsyte Saga and its sequels, A Modern Comedy and End of the Chapter. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in

23
A. A. Milne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
A. A. Milne Died at 74 (1882-1956) Alan Alexander Milne was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, ...more

24
Sebastian Shaw is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Sebastian Shaw Died at 89 (1905-1994) Sebastian Lewis Shaw was an English actor, director, novelist, playwright and poet. During his 65-year career, he appeared in dozens of stage performances and more than 40 film and television ...more

25
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dorothy L. Sayers Died at 64 (1893-1957) Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned English crime writer, poet, playwright, essayist, translator and Christian humanist. She was also a student of classical and modern languages. She is best ...more

26
Joseph Addison is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Joseph Addison Died at 47 (1672-1719) Joseph Addison was an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician. He was the eldest son of The Reverend Lancelot Addison. His name is usually remembered alongside that of his ...more

27
David Garrick is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
David Garrick Died at 62 (1717-1779) David Garrick is a Screenwriter.

28
Simon Gray is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Simon Gray Died at 72 (1936-2008) Simon James Holliday Gray, CBE was an English playwright and memoirist who also had a career as a university lecturer in English literature at Queen Mary, University of London, for 20 years. ...more

29
John Osborne is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
John Osborne Died at 65 (1929-1994) John James Osborne was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and critic of the Establishment. The success of his 1956 play Look Back in Anger transformed English theatre. In a productive ...more

30
Alan Bleasdale is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Alan Bleasdale age 72 Alan Bleasdale is an English writer, best known for social realist drama serials based on the lives of ordinary people. A former teacher, he has written for radio, stage and screen, and has also ...more

31
Algernon Swinburne is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Algernon Swinburne Died at 72 (1837-1909) Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He wrote several novels, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. He ...more

32
Alec Coppel is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Alec Coppel Died at 65 (1907-1972) Alec Coppel was an Australian-born screenwriter, novelist and playwright. He spent the majority of his career in London and Hollywood, specialising in light thrillers, mysteries and sex ...more

33
Willy Russell is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Willy Russell age 70 William "Willy" Russell is a British dramatist, lyricist and composer. His best-known works are Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine, Blood Brothers and Our Day Out.

34
Clifford Bax is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Clifford Bax Died at 76 (1886-1962) Clifford Bax was a versatile English writer, known particularly as a playwright, a journalist, critic and editor, and a poet, lyricist and hymn writer. He also was a translator. The composer ...more

35
William Congreve is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
William Congreve Died at 59 (1670-1729) William Congreve was an English playwright and poet.

36
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baro... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton Died at 70 (1803-1873) Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton PC, was an English novelist, poet, playwright, and politician. He was immensely popular with the reading public and wrote a stream of ...more

37
Peter Harness is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Peter Harness age 42 Peter Harness is an English playwright, screenwriter and actor. He grew up in Hornsea, East Yorkshire and attended Oriel College, Oxford where he studied English and graduated with a first. He ...more

38
John Mortimer is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
John Mortimer Died at 86 (1923-2009) Sir John Clifford Mortimer, CBE, QC was an English barrister, dramatist, screenwriter and author.

39
Roy Hudd is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Roy Hudd age 81 Roy Hudd, OBE is an English comedian, actor, radio host, author and authority on the history of music hall entertainment.

40
Dennis Potter is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dennis Potter Died at 59 (1935-1994) Dennis Christopher George Potter was an English television dramatist, screenwriter and journalist. His work in television drama began with contributions to BBC television's The Wednesday Play ...more

41
William Davenant is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
William Davenant Died at 62 (1606-1668) Sir William Davenant, also spelled D'Avenant, was an English poet and playwright. Along with Thomas Killigrew, Davenant was one of the rare figures in English Renaissance theatre whose career ...more

42
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Died at 73 (1689-1762) Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an English aristocrat and writer. Lady Mary is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from Turkey, as wife to the British ambassador, ...more

43
W. Somerset Maugham is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
W. Somerset Maugham Died at 91 (1874-1965) William Somerset Maugham CH was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s. ...more

44
Hanif Kureishi is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Hanif Kureishi age 63 Hanif Kureishi, CBE is a British Pakistani playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker and novelist. In 2008, The Times included Kureishi in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since

45
Leslie Bricusse is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Leslie Bricusse age 87 Leslie Bricusse is an English composer, lyricist, and playwright, most prominently working in musicals and also film theme songs.

46
Anthony Shaffer is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Anthony Shaffer Died at 75 (1926-2001) Anthony Joshua Shaffer was an English playwright, screenwriter, novelist, barrister and advertising executive.

47
Alan Ayckbourn is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Alan Ayckbourn age 78 Sir Alan Ayckbourn, CBE is a prolific English playwright. He has written and produced more than seventy full-length plays in Scarborough and London and was, between 1972 and 2009, the artistic ...more

48
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Richard Harris Richard St John Harris was an Irish actor, singer, theatrical producer, film director and writer. He appeared on stage and in many films, appearing as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, and ...more

49
Mike Leigh is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Mike Leigh age 75 Mike Leigh is a film director, screenwriter and actor.

50
Jimmie Chinn is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Jimmie Chinn Died at 71 (1940-2011) Jimmie Chinn was an actor, teacher and most notably, a playwright.