Caryl Churchill
Who is she and where did she come from? Caryl Churchill is one of England\'s most
premier female, post-modern playwrights. She has strived throughout her career
as theatrical personality to make the world question roles, stereotypes and
issues that are dealt with everyday, like, violence, and political and sexual
oppression. She has been part of many facets of performance throughout her
almost sixty year career. Not only has she been a strong force on the stage, but
has also had strong influences with radio and television. She is truly a
talented woman dabbling in not only a Brechtian style of theatre that has been
commented on time and time again, but also musicals of a sort. Churchill was
born in London on September 3, 1938. She lived in England until the age of ten
when her family moved to Canada. There she attended Trafalgar School in Montreal
until 1955. At this time she moved back to England to attend Lady Margaret Hall,

Oxford University. This is the key place that her career began. While studying

English at Oxford she took an interest in theatre. She wrote her first three
plays while at the university. Where has she been? Radio plays When her career
in theatre and performance started at Oxford she began the first phase in her
career. She was very focused on sounds and voice. Her first three plays,

Downstairs, 1958; You\'ve No Need to be Frightened, 1959; and Having a Wonderful

Time, 1959. All three of these plays, extremely focused on sound, propelled her
career into radio. For the next ten years she concentrated her energy solely on
radio plays, starting off with The Ants, which she, herself, "thought of it
as a TV play, but my agent Margaret Ramsey sensibly sent it to radio"
(Kritzner16). This focal point gave her many advantages in this time in her
career. "Most important, of course, was its openness to new playwrights. In
addition, it offered an unusual freedom in that it placed few limits on
length...Finally, radio had already proved its potential for serious drama"
(Kritzner 16). During the time of her writing for the theatre and her
"sounds phase," she was looking outward, investigating new places for
her to take her art. She wrote a few stage plays during her radio stint, none of
them being produced. She re-wrote some of her radio plays and eight of them were
produced between the years of 1962 and 1973. She then moved on to television
plays. She became very unsatisfied with it very quickly, commenting that

Television...attracts me very much less...It has the attraction of a large
audiences and being the ordinary peoples\' medium and not being the sort of
effete cultural thing that no one ever pays any attention to anyway. But as an
actual medium, as a physical thing that happens, I don\'t find it anything like
as exciting myself as the stage. I do like things that actually happen. (Kritzner

45). It was then time for her to make a change. Stage plays After a dozen years
of writing primarily for the radio, Churchill finally made her move to the
mainstage. She wrote Owners for Micheal Codron. The play was produced by the

Royal Court Theatre in 1972. Her career went uphill from there. She became
associated with a "sphere of the sometimes conflict-ridden but always
politically daring and artistically committed theatre often referred to simply
as \'the Court\' (Kritzner 61). Churchill\'s reputation became paired with the

Royal Court. She became the first female resident dramatist, and later help with
the Young Writer\'s Group program. During her time at the Royal Court she wrote
many plays, still focusing a great deal on sound and voice. At the same time as
she held position of resident dramatist, she also worked at other theatres and
with other groups. She founded the Theatre Writers\' Group, now known as the

Theatre Writers Union, and had works produced by Joint Stock Theatre Group and

Monstrous Regiment. Historical plays During her previous playwriting time she
had been very centered in time around her present. Starting a new phase in her
career in the mid-1970\'s, she began to look at history and place her plots in
appropriate time frames to make her objective, within each play, more vivid.

Paired with the Monstrous Regiment and Joint Stock, Churchill "multiplied
her ideas, intensified her energy, expanded the range of viewpoints she was able
to encompass, presented fresh avenues for theatrical experiment, and helped her
develop an integrated feminist-socialist critique of society" (Fitzsimmons

29). From this