Taylor, Cecil Philip

C.P. (Cecil Philip) Taylor was a playwright who was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1929 to a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He wrote almost 80 plays for the theatre, radio, and television. Most of his plays draw on Taylor’s Jewish background and his socialist viewpoint. With his first play, Mr David (1954), he became second in a playwriting competition by the World Jewish Congress. The play premiered in Warsaw in 1969. 

In 1965, C.P. Taylor began working as a dramatist at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. There, many of his plays were performed, among them Bread and Butter (1966), Lies about Vietnam (1969), The Black and White Minstrels (1972), Next Year in Tel Aviv (1973), Schippel (1974), Gynt (1975), Walter (1975), and Withdrawal Symptoms (1978). From the late 1970s, the Live Theatre Company in Newcastle premiered several of his plays, including Some Enchanted Evening (1977), Bandits (1977), Operation Elvis (1978), And a Nightingale Sang (1978), and The Saints Go Marching In (1980), which later became known as Bring Me Sunshine, Bring Me Smiles

C.P. Taylor’s arguably most successful play is Good (1981), which was first staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Donmar Warehouse, London. The play is set in pre-war Germany, where a liberal professor – whose best friend is Jewish – is seduced into joining the Nazi party and ends up playing an active role in the Third Reich atrocities. The play has been revived frequently, and in 2008 it became a feature film starring Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs. 

C.P. Taylor died in 1981.


— et al. Live Theatre: Six Plays from the North East. London: Methuen Drama, 2003.

—. Good; And a Nightingale Sang. London: Methuen Drama, 2014.