Playwright John Osborne receives English Heritage Blue Plaque on 65th anniversary of Look Back in Anger

Published on Sat 8 May 2021

John Osborne has today been awarded an English Heritage London Blue Plaque exactly 65 years after his play Look Back in Anger was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre on 8 May 1956. The plaque marks 53 Caithness Road in Hammersmith, the terraced red-brick property which was his London base at the time he wrote Look Back in Anger.

Alan Hollinghurst, novelist and English Heritage Blue Plaques Panel member said: “John Osborne reinvigorated British theatre in the mid-20th century. Challenging and questioning the status quo, his brilliant plays attracted new audiences and inspired a whole new generation of screenwriters and playwrights. We are delighted to recognise the Hammersmith home where he lived around the time of writing the play that made him famous.”

Playwright and director Sir David Hare believes Osborne sparked a theatrical revolution, saying: “John Osborne had the most sensational London debut of any playwright in the English language in the 20th century. It was John’s brilliance and originality which led so many to help relocate the theatre at the centre of Britain’s cultural and intellectual life. Everyone who followed owes him a debt.”

Vicky Featherstone, artistic director at the Royal Court Theatre, added: “John Osborne was the beginning of the mighty Royal Court. His writing and unique voice paved the way for future generations of playwrights to be heard. His legacy is immense.”

Born in London in 1929, John Osborne started working as a stage manager and actor in 1948, writing plays on the side. In 1955 he wrote Look Back in Anger, the play that began his meteoric rise as a playwright. Inspired by his marriage to actress Pamela Lane, with whom he lived in the ground floor flat of 53 Caithness Rd, he drew on Pamela for the character of Alison Porter. 

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