David Hare (playwright)

Sir David Hare (born 5 June 1947) is an English playwright, screenwriter and theatre and film director. Best known for his stage work, Hare has also enjoyed great success with films, receiving two Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay for writing The Hours in 2002, based on the novel written by Michael Cunningham, and The Reader in 2008, based on the novel of the same name written by Bernhard Schlink.

Sir David Hare
Born (1947-06-05) 5 June 1947
St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, Sussex
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter, director
EducationMA (Cantab.), English Literature
Alma materLancing College
Jesus College, Cambridge
Notable worksThe Judas Kiss
The Absence of War
Licking Hitler
The Blue Room
Stuff Happens
Notable awardsBAFTA, Golden Bear, Olivier Award
SpouseNicole Farhi

In the West End, he had his greatest success with the plays Plenty, which he adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep in 1985, Racing Demon (1990), Skylight (1997), and Amy's View (1998). The four plays ran on Broadway in 1982–83, 1996, 1998 and 1999 respectively, earning Hare three Tony Award nominations for Best Play for the first three and two Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. Other notable projects on stage include A Map of the World, Pravda, Murmuring Judges, The Absence of War and The Vertical Hour. He wrote screenplays for films including The Hours (2002) and The Reader (2008) and the BBC dramas Page Eight (2011) and Collateral (2018).

As at 2013, Hare has received two Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globe Award nominations, three Tony Award nominations and has won a BAFTA Award, a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and two Laurence Olivier Awards. He has also been awarded several critics' awards such as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and received the Golden Bear in 1985. He was knighted in 1998.

Early life

David Hare was born and raised – first in a flat, then in a semi-detached house – in St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, Sussex, the son of Agnes Cockburn (née Gilmour) and Clifford Theodore Rippon Hare, a passenger ship's purser in the Merchant Navy.[1] The Hare family claimed descent from the Earls of Bristol.[2][3][4][5] Hare was educated at Lancing College, an independent school in Sussex, and at Jesus College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he was the Hiring Manager on the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club Committee in 1968.[6]

Life and career

Hare worked with the Portable Theatre Company from 1968 to 1971. His first play, Slag, was produced in 1970, the same year in which he married his first wife, Margaret Matheson; the couple had three children and divorced in 1980. He was Resident Dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre, London, from 1970 to 1971, and in 1973 became resident dramatist at the Nottingham Playhouse. He co-founded the Joint Stock Theatre Company with David Aukin and Max Stafford-Clark in 1975. Hare's play Plenty was produced at the National Theatre in 1978, followed by A Map of the World in 1983, and Pravda in 1985, co-written with Howard Brenton.

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 about major British institutions Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, and The Absence of War. He 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).[7]

Hare founded a film company called Greenpoint Films in 1982, and has written screenplays such as Plenty, Wetherby, Strapless, and Paris by Night. In December 2011, it was announced that his monologue Wall about the Israeli West Bank barrier is being adapted as a live-action/animated documentary by the National Film Board of Canada, directed by Cam Christiansen, to be completed in 2014.[8] Aside from films he has also written teleplays for the BBC such as Licking Hitler (1978), and Saigon: Year of the Cat (1983). In November 2012, The New School for Drama selected Hare as temporary Artist-in-residence in which he met with student playwrights about his experience in varying mediums.[9]

His career is examined in the Reputations strand on TheatreVoice. He is particularly well known for incisive commentary on the problems of public institutions. Raymond Williams once said, sardonically, that the public services are largely managed by the nation's "upper servants". Hare addresses this group, providing an analysis of the workings of the institutions: he is, he has said, interested in the struggle to make procedures work better - right now - not in waiting until some revolution, somehow, sometime, comes about to raze the current system altogether, to replace it with perfection.[10]

In 1993, he donated his archive to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.[11] The archive consists of typescript drafts, notes, rehearsal scripts, schedules, production notes, correspondence, theatre programs, resumes, photographs, and published texts associated with Hare's plays, teleplays, screenplays, and essays, as well as foreign-language translations of Hare's works; works by other authors; personal correspondence; minutes of meetings; and Hare's English papers from Cambridge University. Additions were made in 1996 and 2014.

Hare's awards include the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (1975), 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). In 1997, he was a member of the jury at the 47th Berlin International Film Festival.[12] He was knighted in 1998.

He is married to the French fashion designer Nicole Farhi.


Television, film and radio scripts

Directing credits




  • Hare, David (30 April 2009). "Wall: A Monologue". The New York Review of Books. 56 (7): 8–12.



  1. The Blue Touch Paper: A Memoir, David Hare, Faber and Faber, 2015
  2. The Blue Touch Paper: A Memoir, David Hare, Faber and Faber, 2015
  3. The International Who's Who, 1991-1992, Europa Publishing, p. 660
  4. About Hare: The Playwright and the Work, Richard Boon, Faber, 2003
  5. Hersh Zeifman, David Hare a Casebook, (London: Routledge, 1994), ISBN 0-8240-2579-2, p. xix.
  6. ADC Theatre, Cambridge Archives
  7. David Hare Archived 1 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Vlessing, Etan (14 December 2011). "National Film Board of Canada to Animate Israel's West Bank Barrier For Theatrical Doc". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  9. "The New School for Drama Names Sir David Hare Artist-In-Residence".
  10. C. Sullivan, "The Present: Hare and Shrinking Government Provision", in Literature in the Public Service: Sublime Bureaucracy (2013), ch. 4.
  11. "David Hare: An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center". norman.hrc.utexas.edu. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  12. "Berlinale: 1997 Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  13. Hare, David (31 July 2014). "Writing Left-Handed: Collected Essays". Faber & Faber via Google Books.
  14. John Thaxter, "Gethsemane" review, The Stage, 12 November 2008.
  15. Kellaway, Kate (15 February 2009). "Theatre review: Berlin, a reading by David Hare". the Guardian.
  16. Billington, Michael (19 April 2009). "Theatre review: Wall / Royal Court, London". the Guardian.
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. "New York Drama Critics Circle: Past Awards". Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  19. "Berlinale: 1985 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
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