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Famous Playwrights from England

Updated June 14, 2019 13.8k views309 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. {#nodes}
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  • 1
    Dec. at 76 (1888-1965)

    BirthplaceSt. 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. Born in St....  more

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  • 2
    Age: 62

    BirthplaceCatford, London, United Kingdom

    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
  • 3
    Dec. at 76 (1917-1993)

    BirthplaceHarpurhey, United Kingdom

    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

    The Best Anthony Burgess Books#75 of 208 The Best Science-Fiction Authors#47 of 106 The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

  • 4
    Dec. at 28 (1971-1999)

    BirthplaceBrentwood, 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

    #953 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time#667 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#45 of 167 The Greatest Playwrights in History

  • 5
    Dec. at 78 (1930-2008)

    BirthplaceEast End of London, Eurasia, London Borough of Hackney, Greater London, United Kingdom

    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
  • 6
    Dec. at 73 (1899-1973)

    BirthplaceMiddlesex, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, Teddington

    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 "a sense of...  more

    The Best Noël Coward Quotes#354 of 732 The Greatest Directors In Movie History#620 of 816 These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

  • 7

    BirthplaceArmley, 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 Oxford...  more
  • 8
    Dec. at 86 (1904-1991)

    BirthplaceBerkhamsted, 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
    Dec. at 70 (1924-1995)

    BirthplaceEurasia, Manchester, Sale, Greater Manchester, 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
    Dec. at 93 (1881-1975)

    BirthplaceGuildford, 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 third...  more

    The Best P. G. Wodehouse Books#42 of 171 The Best Short Story Writers of All Time#263 of 306 The Best Novelists of All Time

  • 11
    Dec. at 66 (1911-1977)

    BirthplaceSouth 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 an...  more
  • 12
    Dec. at 34 (1933-1967)

    BirthplaceLeicester, United Kingdom

    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 1967—was...  more
  • 13
    Dec. at 76 (1923-1999)

    BirthplaceAlassio, 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
    Dec. at 68 (1631-1700)

    BirthplaceAldwincle, 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 is...  more
  • 15
    Age: 44

    BirthplaceBedford, United Kingdom

    Laura Wade (born 16 October 1977) is an English playwright....  more
  • 16

    BirthplaceUnited 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....  more

    #18 of 22 22 Huge Celebrities Who Turned Down Knighthoods#53 of 197 Famous Vegetarians and Vegans

  • 17
    Dec. at 65 (1572-1637)

    BirthplaceWestminster, 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 of...  more

    #1003 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time#40 of 113 The Best English Poets of All Time

  • 18
    Dec. at 66 (1938-2005)

    BirthplaceDarlington, 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....  more
  • 19
    Dec. at 74 (1730-1804)

    BirthplaceGibraltar, 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 Johnson,...  more
  • 20
    Dec. at 48 (1640-1689)

    BirthplaceCanterbury, 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 living by...  more
  • 21
    Age: 263

    BirthplaceLondon, 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....  more
  • 22
    Dec. at 65 (1867-1933)

    BirthplaceKingston 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
    Dec. at 74 (1882-1956)

    BirthplaceHampstead, 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

    #12 of 94 The Best Children's Book Authors#74 of 108 Famous People Who Use Initials In Their Names

  • 24
    Dec. at 89 (1905-1994)

    BirthplaceHolt, England

    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...  more
  • 25
    Dec. at 64 (1893-1957)

    BirthplaceOxford, United Kingdom

    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 series...  more