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Shelagh Stephenson

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Name  Shelagh Stephenson
Role  Playwright

Shelagh Stephenson wwwdramaonlinelibrarycomcontentmedia3295w16
Awards  Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy
Nominations  Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play
Plays  The Memory of Water, Five Kinds of Silence, An Experiment with an Ai
Books  The Memory of Water/Fiv, Mappa mundi, Ancient Lights, The Long Road, Enlightenment

Education  University of Manchester

Shelagh stephenson discusses the artist winslow homer

Shelagh Stephenson is an English playwright and actress.


Shelagh Stephenson Shelagh Stephenson Literature

Promo for The Memory of Water

Background and education

Stephenson was born in Tynemouth, Northumberland in 1955. She read drama at Manchester University.


Stephenson worked as an actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in bit parts in television. She appeared in Coronation Street in 1981 as the minor character Sandra Webb. She has subsequently had parts in Rumpole's Return, Sapphire & Steel, The Gentle Touch, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Boon, Paradise Postponed and Big Deal.


Stephenson's stage plays include The Memory of Water (1997), An Experiment with an Air Pump, Ancient Lights, Five Kinds of Silence (radio play 1996; stage play 2000), Mappa Mundi (2002), Harriet Martineau and The Long Road (2008) which was written in collaboration with the UK-based charity, The Forgiveness Project, to critical acclaim.

Her plays frequently deal with new advances in science, such as the concept in the title of her first stage play, and including commentary on possibly pseudoscientific fads like urine therapy or phrenology in her play on Harriet Martineau. Methuen Publishing Ltd published a collected edition of all four of these Stephenson plays in 2003.

An Experiment with an Air Pump was revived in 2009 at Hampstead Theatre, where the original production appeared in 1998 after premiering at the Royal Exchange, Manchester; the play has been since revived at the universities of San Diego and New Orleans, the English Theatre, Berlin, the University of Waterloo and the Giant Olive Theatre Company, in London. Harriet Martineau was performed by Live Theatre in November 2016.


Her plays for BBC Radio include Darling Peidi, 1993; Five Kinds of Silence, 1996, which was awarded the Writers Guild Award for Best Original Drama; Life is a Dream, 2004; Nemesis, 2005; and The People’s Princess, 2008. Shelagh was a scriptwriter on BBC Radio 4's drama series Citizens.


The Memory of Water was made into a film called Before You Go in 2002 starring Julie Walters and Tom Wilkinson and directed by Lewis Gilbert.


Shelagh Stephenson Wikipedia