Shaffer, Peter

Sir Peter Shaffer was a playwright and a screenwriter. He was born in Liverpool in 1926 to a Jewish family. He was the twin brother of fellow playwright Anthony Shaffer. After being educated in London, Shaffer received a scholarship to study History at Trinity College in Cambridge.

The BBC presented his first play The Salt Land in 1954. Shaffer’s Five Finger Exercise (1958) won the Evening Standard Drama Award as well as the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. It was adapted for film in 1962.

Shaffer’s most successful plays are Equus (1973) and Amadeus (1979) which both won Tony Awards among many other prizes. Both plays were adapted for screen and received similar critical acclaim as their theatrical templates with Amadeus winning eight Academy Awards in 1984.

Peter Shaffer was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his contributions to drama in 1987. In 2001 he received a knighthood from the Queen and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2007.

Sir Peter Shaffer died on 6th June 2016.


—. The Private Ear / The Public Eye. New York: Stein & Day, 1964.

—. The White Liars, and Black Comedy: Two One-Act Plays. London: Samuel French, 1995.

—. The Collected Plays of Peter Shaffer. New York: Harmony Publishing, 1988.

—. Amadeus. New York: Harper Perennial, 2001.

—. Equus. New York: Scribner, 2005.

—. The Royal Hunt of the Sun. London: Samuel French, 2010.