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Famous Playwrights from England

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Updated June 14, 2019 11.4k views 309 items

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. (309 items)
1
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 77 (1888-1965)

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri

Thomas Stearns Eliot (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965), "one of the twentieth century's major poets", was also an essayist, publisher, playwright, and literary and social critic. ...more

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2
Ben Elton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Age: 59

Birthplace: Eurasia, Catford, United Kingdom, London, England

Benjamin Charles Elton (born 3 May 1959) is a British-Australian comedian, author, playwright, actor and director. He was a part of London's alternative comedy movement of the 1980s and became a ...more

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#94 of 184 The Funniest British and Irish Comedians of all Time #30 of 148 140+ Notable Atheists

3
Anthony Burgess is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 76 (1917-1993)

Birthplace: Harpurhey, Greater Manchester, North West England, United Kingdom, with Dependencies and Territories

John Anthony Burgess Wilson, (; 25 February 1917 – 22 November 1993), who published under the name Anthony Burgess, was an English writer and composer. Although Burgess was predominantly a comic ...more

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4
Sarah Kane is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 28 (1971-1999)

Birthplace: Brentwood, United Kingdom

Sarah Kane (3 February 1971 – 20 February 1999) was an English playwright who is known for her plays that deal with themes of redemptive love, sexual desire, pain, torture—both physical and ...more

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#868 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #611 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #46 of 182 The Greatest Playwrights in History

5
Harold Pinter is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 78 (1930-2008)

Birthplace: Metropolitan Borough of Hackney

Harold Pinter (; 10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008) was a British playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. A Nobel Prize winner, Pinter was one of the most influential modern British ...more

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#243 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #2,026 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #20 of 182 The Greatest Playwrights in History

6
Noël Coward is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 74 (1899-1973)

Birthplace: Middlesex, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, Teddington, + more

Sir Noël Peirce Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called ...more

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7
Alan Bennett is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Age: 84

Birthplace: Armley, United Kingdom

Alan Bennett (born 9 May 1934) 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 ...more
8
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 87 (1904-1991)

Birthplace: Berkhamsted, England

Henry Graham Greene (2 October 1904 – 3 April 1991), better known by his pen name Graham Greene, was an English novelist regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. ...more
9
Robert Bolt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 71 (1924-1995)

Birthplace: Sale, United Kingdom

Robert Oxton Bolt, CBE (15 August 1924 – 21 February 1995) was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter, known for writing the screenplays for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor ...more
10
P. G. Wodehouse is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 94 (1881-1975)

Birthplace: Guildford, United Kingdom

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (, WOOD-howss; 15 October 1881 – 14 February 1975) was an English author and one of the most widely read humorists of the 20th century. Born in Guildford, the ...more
11
Terence Rattigan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 66 (1911-1977)

Birthplace: South Kensington, London, United Kingdom

Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan, CBE (10 June 1911 – 30 November 1977) was a British dramatist. He was one of England's most popular mid twentieth century dramatists. His plays are typically set in ...more
12
Joe Orton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 34 (1933-1967)

Birthplace: East Midlands, Eurasia, Leicestershire, United Kingdom, England, + more

John Kingsley Orton (1 January 1933 – 9 August 1967), known under the pen name of Joe Orton, was an English playwright, author and diarist. His public career—from 1964 until his death in ...more
13
Peter Wildeblood is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 76 (1923-1999)

Birthplace: Alassio, Italy

Peter Wildeblood (19 May 1923 – 14 November 1999) 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 ...more
14
John Dryden is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 69 (1631-1700)

Birthplace: Aldwincle, United Kingdom

John Dryden (; 19 August [O.S. 9 August] 1631 – 12 May [O.S. 1 May] 1700) was an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was made England's first Poet Laureate in 1668.He ...more
15
Laura Wade is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Age: 41

Birthplace: Bedford, United Kingdom

Laura Wade (born 16 October 1977) is an English playwright.
16
Benjamin Zephaniah is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Age: 60

Birthplace: Handsworth, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah (born 15 April 1958) is a British writer, dub poet and Rastafarian. He was included in The Times list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers in 2008.

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17
Ben Jonson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 65 (1572-1637)

Birthplace: Westminster, London, United Kingdom

Benjamin Jonson (c. 11 June 1572 – c. 16 August 1637) was an English playwright and poet, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the comedy ...more

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#377 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #887 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #38 of 111 The Best English Poets of All Time

18
William Corlett is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)

Birthplace: Darlington, United Kingdom

William Corlett (8 October 1938 – 16 August 2005), 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
Dec. at 74 (1730-1804)

Birthplace: Gibraltar, United Kingdom, with Dependencies and Territories

Charlotte Lennox, née Ramsay (c. 1730 – 4 January 1804), was a Scottish author and poet, mostly remembered today as the author of The Female Quixote, and for her association with Samuel ...more
20
Aphra Behn is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 49 (1640-1689)

Birthplace: Canterbury, United Kingdom

Aphra Behn (; bapt. 14 December 1640 – 16 April 1689) was an English playwright, poet, translator and fiction writer from the Restoration era. As one of the first English women to earn her ...more

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21
Jane West is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 94 (1758-1852)

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

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
Dec. at 66 (1867-1933)

Birthplace: Kingston upon Thames, London, United Kingdom

John Galsworthy (; 14 August 1867 – 31 January 1933) was an English novelist and playwright. Notable works include The Forsyte Saga (1906–1921) and its sequels, A Modern Comedy and End of the ...more
23
A. A. Milne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 74 (1882-1956)

Birthplace: Hampstead, London, United Kingdom

Alan Alexander Milne (; 18 January 1882 – 31 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various poems. Milne was a noted writer, ...more

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24
Sebastian Shaw is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dec. at 89 (1905-1994)

Birthplace: Holt, United Kingdom

Sebastian Lewis Shaw (29 May 1905 – 23 December 1994) was an English actor, director, novelist, playwright and poet. During his 65-year career, he appeared in dozens of stage performances and ...more
25
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Playwrights from England
Dorothy L. Sayers Dec. at 64 (1893-1957)

Birthplace: South East England, Eurasia, United Kingdom, Oxford, England, + more

Dorothy Leigh Sayers (; 13 June 1893 – 17 December 1957) was an English crime writer and poet. She was also a student of classical and modern languages. She is best known for her mysteries, a ...more