Arnold Wesker

Arnold Wesker

Sir Arnold Wesker (born Stepney 24 May, 1932) is a prolific British dramatist known for his contributions to kitchen sink drama. He is the author of 42 plays, 4 volumes of short stories, 2 volumes of essays, a book on journalism, a children's book, extensive journalism, poetry and other assorted writings. His plays have been translated into 17 languages and performed worldwide.


He was born in London

His early plays "Roots", "The Kitchen", and "Their Very Own and Golden City" were staged by the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre under the management of George Devine and later William Gaskill.

His inspiration for "The Kitchen" came when he was working at The Bell Hotel in Norwich. It was while working here that he also met his future wife Dusty. "Roots" is also set in Norfolk.

He founded the Roundhouse's first theatre, called Centre 42, in 1964.

In 2005 he published his first novel, Honey, which recounted the experiences of Beatie Bryant, the heroine of his earlier play Roots. The novel was noticeable for its divergences from chronology. Roots was set in the early sixties and Beatie is 22, in Honey she has only aged 3 years yet the action has been transplanted into the 1980s. Other oddities are that the timeframe includes the Rushdie affair and John Major's fall as recent events and yet the action is concerned with the dotcom boom.

He was knighted in the 2006 New Year's Honours list.He was the castaway on Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 17 December 2006.

In 2008 Arnold Wesker published his first collection of poetry, All Things Tire of Themselves (Flambard Press). The collection dates back many years and represents what he considers his best and most characteristic poems.


Many of Wesker's plays had underlying political themes, and Wesker himself was open about his admiration of the working class side of the class 'struggle'.

Wesker joined with enthusiasm the Royal Court group on the Aldermaston March in 1959. Another of the Royal Court contingent, Lindsay Anderson, made a documentary film about the march.


* "The Kitchen", 1957
* "Chicken Soup with Barley", 1958
* "Roots (play)", 1958
* "I'm talking about Jerusalem", 1958
* "Menace", 1961 (For Television)
* "Chips with Everything", 1962
* "The Nottingham Captain", 1962
* "Four Seasons", 1965
* "Their Very Own and Golden City", 1966
* "The Friends", 1970
* "The Old Ones", 1970
* "The Journalist", 1972
* "The Wedding Feast", 1974
* "Shylock", 1976
* "Love Letters on Blue Paper", 1976
* "Pheonix", 1980
* "Caritas", 1980
* "Words on the Wind", 1980
* "One More Ride on the Merry-Go-Round", 1980
* "Breakfast", 1981
* "Sullied Hand", 1981
* "Four Portraits - Of Mothers", 1982
* "Annie Wobbler", 1982
* "Yardsale", 1983
* "Cinders", 1983
* "Whatever Happened to Betty Lemon?", 1986
* "When God Wanted a Son", 1986
* "Lady Othello", 1987
* "Little Old Lady & Shoeshine", 1987
* "Badenheim 1939", 1987
* "The Mistress", 1988
* "Beorhtel's Hill", 1988 (Community Play for Basildon)
* "Men Die Women Survive", 1990
* "Letter To A Daughter", 1990
* "Blood Libel", 1991
* "Wild Spring", 1992
* "Bluey", 1993
* "The Confession", 1993
* "Circles of Perception", 1996
* "Break, My Heart", 1997
* "Denial", 1997
* "Barabbas", 2000
* "The Kitchen Musical", 2000
* "Groupie", 2001
* "Longitude", 2002
* "Honey", 2005 (novel)
* "The Rocking Horse", 2007 (Commissioned by the BBC World Service)


* "Chambers Biographical Dictionary" (Chambers, Edinburgh, 2002) ISBN 0-550-10051-2

External links

*" [ Arnold Wesker: Playwright] " – Official website of Sir Arnold Wesker
* [ "Arnold's Choice"] . Interview with Arnold Wesker, by Kirsty Young. "Desert Island Discs". Broadcast on "BBC Radio 4", December 17, 2006; repeated December 22, 2006.

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