Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Playwright Michael Frayn Awarded Critics Circle Award for Services to the Arts

pixeltracker

Mr. Frayn is best known for his 1982 play Noises Off, but is also a great novelist and winner of the 1966 Somerset Maugham Award with Tin Men.

Playwright Michael Frayn Awarded Critics Circle Award for Services to the Arts

Playwright and novelist Michael Frayn was today awarded the Critics Circle Award for Services to the Arts, the Critics Circle's highest honour.

Every year since 1988, the Critics' Circle has voted for a single leading artist to receive an engraved crystal rose bowl in recognition of their distinguished contribution to the arts.

Mr Frayn, who was nominated by the Books section, is best known for his 1982 play Noises Off, but is also a great novelist and winner of the 1966 Somerset Maugham Award with Tin Men, and the Hawthornden Prize for The Russian Interpreter in 1967. His Towards the End of the Morning is based on his experiences as an Observer columnist in the heyday of Fleet Street, which endears him to the senior members of the Circle.

He was today presented with the rose bowl award by the President of the Critics Circle, Suzi Feay, at a celebration lunch at the National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, London SW1, attended by critics from across all fields of the arts.

Mr Frayn said: "I'm deeply honoured to receive this very special and very distinguished award. It comes as a particular joy at the moment, when the theatre has been completely closed down for so long, and so much of all life has gone underground. So - there are still other people out there, and we're still all speaking to each other! Writing is not always the torment it's made out to be: sometimes the characters do the work for you and it's like flying. But there are dark days when what you want to write just won't be written. This award is for the dark days. Thank you, Critics' Circle."

The Critics Circle Award for Services to the Arts is voted for by more than 500 members of the Critics' Circle across its six sections - Music, Dance, Film, Drama, Visual Arts and Literary criticism. Each section proposes a nominee from its field of the arts and then a final vote is held of all members.

The first recipient in 1988 was Sir Peter Hall, Director of The National Theatre and founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Previous winners include David Hockney, Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Nicholas Hytner, Sir Richard Eyre, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Tom Stoppard, Alan Bennett, Ken Loach.and Stephen Sondheim... the list is long and illustrious

The Critics' Circle was founded in 1913 and is the oldest critics' organisation in the world.

Michael Frayn


Michael Frayn was born in 1933, in the suburbs of London. He began his career as a reporter on The Guardian, then became a columnist on that paper from 1959 to 1962, and for The Observer from 1962 to 1968.

For some years after leaving The Observer, he continued to contribute features to the paper on foreign countries, among them Cuba, Israel, Japan and Sweden and has been writing a column for The Guardian. He has written and presented a series of personal films for BBC Television on Berlin, Vienna, Australia Jerusalem, Prague, and the London suburbs in which he grew up.

He has published 10 novels - THE TIN MEN, THE RUSSIAN INTERPRETER, AGAINST ENTROPY, TOWARDS THE END OF THE MORNING, A VERY PRIVATE LIFE, SWEET DREAMS, THE TRICK OF IT, A LANDING ON THE SUN, NOW YOU KNOW, HEADLONG, SPIES and SKIOS, together with two philosophical works, CONSTRUCTIONS and THE HUMAN TOUCH.

Michael's book about philosophy THE HUMAN TOUCH was published by Faber in 2006. STAGE DIRECTIONS followed - a collection of his prefaces and postscripts also published by Faber and his latest non-fiction book, MY FATHER'S FORTUNE, was published by Faber in September 2010.

He has written a number of plays for television, and for the stage his work includes THE TWO OF US, ALPHABETICAL ORDER, DONKEYS' YEARS, CLOUDS, BALMORAL (LIBERTY HALL), MAKE AND BREAK, NOISES OFF, BENEFACTORS, LOOK LOOK and HERE. ALPHABETICAL ORDER, MAKE AND BREAK and NOISES OFF all received BEST COMEDY OF THE YEAR awards, whilst BENEFACTORS was named BEST PLAY OF THE YEAR.

He has translated four of Chekhov's full-length plays - THE CHERRY ORCHARD, THREE SISTERS, THE SEAGULL and UNCLE VANYA and adapted Chekhov's first, untitled play as WILD HONEY. He has also translated four of his one-act plays - THE EVILS OF TOBACCO, SWAN SONG, THE BEAR and THE PROPOSAL and adapted five short stories DRAMA, THE ALIEN CORN, THE SNEEZE, THE INSPECTOR GENERAL, SWAN SONG and PLOTS for the stage. These, with the exception of PLOTS, were staged collectively as THE SNEEZE. He has translated Tolstoy's FRUITS OF ENLIGHTENMENT, Yuri Trifonov's EXCHANGE and Anouilh's NUMBER ONE.

MATCHBOX THEATRE had its world premiere at the Hampstead Theatre in 2015.

CLOCKWISE, his first film, was released in 1986 starring John Cleese. His second film, FIRST AND LAST, won an International Emmy Award in 1990. The film of his play, NOISES OFF was produced by Disney. ALPHABETICAL ORDER, DONKEYS' YEARS, MAKE AND BREAK and BENEFACTORS have all been filmed for U.K. television and A LANDING ON THE SUN was filmed and transmitted (BBC) in 1994.

Michael adapted his novel, NOW YOU KNOW, for the stage which opened at the Hampstead Theatre on the 19th July 1995 and toured the country until Spring of 1996. Two new plays followed.

The first, COPENHAGEN. opened at The National Theatre in May 1998 and transferred to the Duchess Theatre in 1999. It won Best Play at the 1998 Evening Standard Awards and Best Play at the London Critics' Cicle Awards and has been presented around the world in many languages. ALARMS AND EXCURSIONS (more plays than one) toured in the UK prior to transferring to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End in 1999.

DEMOCRACY had its world premiere at The National Theatre in 2003 and transferred to Broadway in 2004.

His latest play, AFTERLIFE, about impressario Max Reinhardt premiered at The National Theatre in 2008 and has been performed variously abroad including in Salzburg, where Max Reinhardt lived for so many years.

Michael was was awarded the Writer's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and received the South Bank Show Outstanding Achievement Award 2012.


Related Articles View More UK Regional Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You