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David Hare (playwright)

Related subjects: Writers and critics

Background Information

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David Hare
Occupation playwright, screenwriter, director
Notable work(s) Plenty
The Absence of War
Licking Hitler
The Blue Room
Stuff Happens
Notable award(s) BAFTA, Golden Bear, Olivier Award
Spouse(s) Nicole Farhi

Sir David Hare (born 5 June 1947) is an English playwright and theatre and film director.

Early life

Hare was born David Rippon in St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, East Sussex, the son of Agnes (née Gilmour) and Clifford Theodore Rippon, a sailor.


Hare was educated at Lancing College, an independent school for boys in the village of Lancing in West Sussex, and at Jesus College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he was the Hiring Manager on the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club Committee, 1968.

Life and career

Hare's first play, Slag, was produced in 1970.

He worked with the Portable Theatre Company from 1968 - 1971. He was Resident Dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre, London, from 1970-1971, and in 1973 became resident dramatist at the Nottingham Playhouse, a major provincial theatre. In 1975, Hare co-founded the Joint Stock Theatre Company with David Aukin and Max Stafford-Clark. Hare began writing for the National Theatre and in 1978 his play Plenty was produced at the National Theatre, followed by A Map of the World in 1983, and Pravda in 1985, co-written with Howard Brenton. David Hare became the Associate Director of the National Theatre in 1984, and has since seen many of his plays produced, such as his trilogy of plays Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, and The Absence of War. Hare has also directed many other plays aside from his own works, such as The Pleasure Principle by Snoo Wilson, Weapons of Happiness by Howard Brenton, and King Lear by William Shakespeare for the National Theatre. He is also the author of a collection of lectures on the arts and politics called Obedience, Struggle, and Revolt (2005).

Hare founded a film company called Greenpoint Films in 1982, and has written screenplays such as Plenty, Wetherby, Strapless, and Paris by Night. Aside from movies he has also written teleplays for the BBC such as Licking Hitler, and Saigon: The Year of the Cat. His career is examined in the Reputations strand on TheatreVoice.

Hare's awards include the BAFTA Award (1979), the New York Drama Critics Circle Award (1983), the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear (1985), the Olivier Award (1990), and the London Theatre Critics' Award (1990). He was knighted in 1998.

Hare is married to the French fashion designer Nicole Farhi.


  • Slag (1970) Slag, is a biting satire in which the only characters are the three teachers of a tiny isolated girl's school. To protest against the dominance and abusive treatment by men epitomized by the slur as "slags," they vow to abstain from sexual intercourse. Feminism and dominance are ridiculed alike, as the conflicts among the teachers' different visions of radical feminism and their teaching become the grist for duplicitous dominant and abusive acts among them, while the number of pupils in the resulting dysfunctional environment dwindles to zero. Slag was a breakthrough play for David Hare, winning him the Evening Standard Award for most promising new playwright.
  • The Great Exhibition (1972)
  • Brassneck (1973) (with Howard Brenton)
  • Knuckle (1974)
  • Fanshen (1975)
  • Teeth 'n' Smiles (1975)
  • Plenty (1978)
  • A Map of the World (1982)
  • Pravda (1985) (with Howard Brenton)
  • The Bay at Nice, and Wrecked Eggs (1986)
  • The Secret Rapture (1988)
  • Racing Demon (1990)
  • Murmuring Judges (1991)
  • The Absence of War (1993)
  • Skylight (1995)
  • Amy's View (1997)
  • The Blue Room (1998) (adapted from Arthur Schnitzler)
  • The Judas Kiss (1998)
  • Via Dolorosa (1998)
  • My Zinc Bed (2000)
  • The Breath of Life (play) (2002)
  • The Permanent Way (2004)
  • Stuff Happens (2004)
  • The Vertical Hour (2006)
  • Gethsemane (2008)
  • The Power of Yes (2009)

Television and film scripts

  • Licking Hitler (1978)
  • Dreams of Leaving (1980)
  • Plenty (1985) - based on his play
  • Strapless (1989)
  • Damage (1992)
  • The Hours (2002) - based on the novel by Michael Cunningham
  • The Corrections (2007) - based on the novel by Jonathan Franzen
  • My Zinc Bed (2008) - based on his play
  • Murder in Samarkand (2008) - based on the memoir by Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan
  • The Reader (2008) - based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink

Directing credits

  • Licking Hitler for BBC1's Play for Today (1978) (TV film)
  • Dreams of Leaving for BBC1's Play for Today (1980)
  • Wetherby (1985)
  • Paris by Night (1988)
  • Strapless (1989)
  • Paris, May 1919 (1993) (TV episode)
  • The Designated Mourner, written by Wallace Shawn (1989)
  • Heading Home (1991) (TV film)
  • The Year of Magical Thinking (2007) ( Broadway play by Joan Didion starring Vanessa Redgrave)


  • 1979 BAFTA Award (British Academy of Film and Television) for Best Single Play for Licking Hitler
  • 1983 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play for Plenty
  • 1985 Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear for Wetherby
  • 1990 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play for Racing Demon
  • 1990 London Theatre Critics’ Award for Best Play for
  • 1995 Evening Standard Award for Best Play for Pravda, Racing Demon
  • 1999 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show for Via Doloroso
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