Wright, Nicholas

Nicholas Wright is a British playwright who was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1940. In 1958, he came to London to train as an actor at LAMDA and later worked as a floor assistant for the BBC and as a runner in film. He became casting director at the Royal Court Theatre in 1965, then assistant director and eventually the first director of the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs. Wright was joint artistic director of the Royal Court from 1975 to 1977 and then a member of the Royal Court Theatre’s Board. He also worked as literary manager and associate director of the National Theatre and is a former member of the National Theatre Board. Additionally to the publication of many of his plays, Wright’s work includes 99 Plays (1992), a survey of drama from the ancient world to the present, and Changing Stages: A View of British Theatre in the 20th Century (2000), which he co-wrote with Richard Eyre.

Wright’s many plays at the National Theatre include Mrs. Klein (1988), Vincent in Brixton (2003), which won the Olivier Award for Best New Play, and an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials (2003). While Wright is not ethnically Jewish, his play Travelling Light (2012) is a frequent reference point. The play is a tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who established themselves as influential personalities in Hollywood’s golden age. It premiered at the National Theatre, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Antony Sher.

Wright judged the Yale Drama Series competition for playwright’s during 2015 and 2016 and, in 2016, was writing an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to be performed on stage. In 2017, the English National Opera in London and, in 2018, the Metropolitan Opera in New York produced Wright’s libretto for Marnie, an opera by Nico Muhly, which was based on a book by Winston Graham.