The writer credited with transforming post-war British theatre has been celebrated with a blue plaque.
John Osborne lived at 53 Caithness Road, West Kensington, off Brook Green, with wife Pamela Lane. He was based there when he wrote Look Back in Anger.
Now, on the play’s 65th anniversary, the playwright has been saluted with the famous English Heritage disc.
The plaque was installed at the end of April. Resident Bill Humble said it was great that the plaque had been put in place to celebrate local arts history. “He lived there when he was young and struggling,” he said.
It is the anniversary of the first performance of Look Back in Anger, at the Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, on 8 May 1956, heralding the start of ‘kitchen sink drama’ in Britain – the style of social realism based on actual domestic life.
He was the first ‘angry young man’ of British theatre, although he went on to achieve success in many other writing projects, including The Entertainer with Laurence Olivier.
“Osborne reinvigorated British theatre in the mid-20th century; challenging and questioning the status quo and inspiring a new generation of screenwriters and playwrights,” said blue plaque panel member Alan Hollinghurst. “We’re delighted to recognise the Hammersmith home where he lived.”
Playwright Sir David Hare added that it was “John’s brilliance and originality which led so many to help relocate the theatre at the centre of Britain’s cultural and intellectual life”.
Born in Fulham in 1929, John Osborne began working as a stage manager and actor in 1948, writing plays on the side. In 1955 he wrote Look Back in Anger, the play that began his meteoric rise. Osborne died on Christmas Eve 1994.
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