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First Episode (with Philip Heimann)

Q Theatre, Sept 1933

6m, 2f

Student Tony is infatuated with older actress, Margot, and she too returns his passionate affections. However, she must compete with Tony's best friend, David. Rattigan's first play was written with fellow Oxford undergraduate, Philip Heimann.

French Without Tears

Criterion Theatre, Nov 1936

7m, 3f

At a villa on the south coast of France, a group of young men are being taught French. However, vying for their attention is the glamorous Diana Lake who proceeds to charm the boys one by one.

After the Dance

St James's Theatre, June 1939

8m, 5f plus extras

Hard-drinking and hard-living David is involved with two women: his wife, Joan, and younger mistress, Helen. However, his hedonistic lifestyle is disrupted when his wife commits suicide and he must face up to the choices he has made.

Follow My Leader (with Anthony Maurice)

Apollo Theatre, Jan 1940

8m, 1f plus extras

This farce about the rise of Hitler was completed in 1938 and written with a fellow Oxford graduate. Plumber Hans Zedesi finds himself in power in the fictional country of Moronia after blowing up parliament and blaming it on cowardly liberals.

Flare Path

Apollo Theatre, Jan 1942

7m, 4f

RAF bomber pilot is enjoying his reunion with wife, Patricia. However, when Patricia's ex-lover, Tom, turns up and an urgent bombing mission is ordered, Patricia finds herself trapped in an emotional conflict as unpredictable as the war in the skies.

While the Sun Shines

Globe Theatre, Dec 1943

5m, 2f

Lord Harpenden is due to marry Lady Elisabeth Randall but neither seem overjoyed about it. Matters are complicated when Elisabeth finds herself the object of three other suitors' attentions and Harpenden's former flame turns up too.

Love In Idleness

Lyric Theatre, Dec 1944

4m, 6f

Buoyant Michael returns home from Canada brimming with leftwing ideals only to discover his mother romantically embroiled with a hardline Tory. Loosely based on the story of Hamlet, this is the reworked version of 'Less Than Kind'.

The Winslow Boy

Lyric Theatre, May 1946

7m, 4f

Based on a true story of a teenage naval cadet who is unjustly accused of stealing a five shilling postal order. His father hires a lawyer in order to clear his son's name but the court case takes its devastating toll on each member of the Winslow family.

The Browning Version

Phoenix Theatre, Sept 1948

5m, 2f

In this one-act play, Andrew Crocker-Harris is on the verge of retirement, and potentially divorce from wife, Millie. However, he has a shot at redeeming his dignity when a young pupil gives him an unexpected parting gift.


Phoenix Theatre, Sept 1948

9m, 5f

A one-act farce which premiered in a double bill with The Browning Version, the story follows a theatrical family attempting to put on a production of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'.

Adventure Story

St James' Theatre, Mar 1949

12m, 5f

As Alexander lies dying he remembers his great conquests and muses on his bloody rule. Sure of his destiny, he has pursued his ambitions above all else but his premature death prompts him to question whether it was all worth it.

A Tale of Two Cities (adapted from Charles Dickens with John Gielgud)

St Brendan's College Dramatic Society, Clifton 1950

5m, 3f

Written with actor John Gielgud, this adaptation of the much-loved Dickens' novel which is set during the French Revolution in the cities of London and Paris, makes use of a flexible ensemble cast to play the plethora of parts.

Who is Sylvia?

Criterion Theatre, Oct 1950

6m, 5f

Mark is obsessed with the image of a red-haired woman he fell in love with at seventeen. Now married with children, he spends all his time pursuing women who look identical to his lost love. But who is she?

The Deep Blue Sea

Duchess Theatre, Mar 1952

5m, 3f

Having left her husband for the dangerous charms of an ex-fighter pilot, Hester Collyer finds herself caught between the proverbial, longing to be loved but finding it harder to hold onto than she first imagined.

The Sleeping Prince

Phoenix Theatre, Nov 1953

7m, 4f

American actress Elsie has a chance meeting with the fictional Prince Charles of Carpathia, who becomes totally captivated by her beauty and charm. She in turn falls for him much to the chagrin of the Carpathian royal family.

Separate Tables

St James's Theatre, Sept 1954

3m, 8f

The first part of this play of two distinct halves, 'Table by the Window' concerns a down-at-heel journalist confronted by his ex-wife. In part two, 'Table Number Seven', an army colonel bonds with a spinster over her domineering mother.

Variation on a Theme

Globe Theatre, May 1958

4m, 4f

Socialite Rose is desperately in love with Ron, an up and coming ballet dancer, for whom she is encouraged to sacrifice her happiness for his career. But as her health deteriorates, Ron must face up to a life without her love.


Theatre Royal Haymarket, May 1960


The story of British army officer T.E. Lawrence (the inspiration for 'Lawrence of Arabia') who in 1922 went undercover in the RAF picking as his alter-ego a rather bookish man called Ross.

Joie de Vivre (with Robert Stolz and Paul Dehn)

Queen's Theatre, July 1960

8m, 3f

A musical version of Rattigan's first hit, 'French Without Tears'.

Man and Boy

Queen's Theatre, Sept 1963

5m, 2f

At the height of the Great Depression, ruthless businessmen Gregor is desperately trying to keep the wolves from the door. His only hope may lie with his estranged son, Basil, if only they can reconcile.

A Bequest to the Nation

Theatre Royal Haymarket, Sept 1970

10m, 7f plus extras

Based on his television play written four years earlier, Rattigan examines the life of Horatio Nelson, in particular his spectacular win at the Battle of Trafalgar and the relationship between himself and his wife and his mistress.

In Praise of Love

Duchess Theatre, Sept 1973

3m, 1f

Lydia is dying. However, she is using all her strength and charm to hide the truth of her condition from her cunning husband, Sebastian in this comedy about deception and love.


King's Head Theatre, Feb 1976


A play for one actress. Rosemary returns home from a party, a little inebriated, and strikes up a conversation with her dead husband. Recriminations and recollections abound as she comes to a sad realisation about the nature of their marriage.

Cause Célèbre

Her Majesty's Theatre, July 1977

15m, 5f plus 1 boy

Based on the infamous trial of Alma Rattenbury who stood accused of murdering her younger lover, the play investigates the impact the case has on a particular female juror as well as examining stifling Victorial attitudes towards female sexuality.

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