(Michael Billington's article appeared in the Guardian, 3/30.) 

In the summer of 1955 an advertisement appeared in the Stage newspaper asking for new plays. It had been placed by the English Stage Company, which was setting up in business at an unfashionable theatre, the Royal Court, in London’s Sloane Square. The response to the ad was tremendous. Seven hundred and fifty scripts poured in.

The only trouble was, most of them were rubbish: either bottom-drawer pieces by hack writers or, in the words of Tony Richardson, who was to become the ESC’s associate director, “endless blank-verse shit”.


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