Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

Series Name School of English
Speaker Leonie Orton Barnett, novelist Jake Arnott, director Nick Bagnall
Type Arts & Entertainment
When 29 Jun 2014, 10:30AM - 16:30PM
Venue Peter Williams Lecture Theatre
Open To Public
Ticket Price Free
For Bookings Contact

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Joe Orton's first stage play, Enteratining Mr Sloane.

Joe Orton (1933-1967) was one of the most original and important playwrights of the post-war period. As Orton was born in Leicester and the University holds the Joe Orton Archive, the School of English is hosting a day of screenings, talks and readings to mark Sloane’s 50th birthday.

In 1964, Orton’s satire on social and sexual hypocrisy ignited controversy. The play was deemed ‘a real shocker’ (London Evening News). However, Sloane went on to win the London Critics’ Play of the Year award. Fellow writer Terrence Rattigan declared it ‘the most exciting and stimulating first play’ that he had seen in ‘thirty (odd) years’ and Tennessee Williams hailed it as the funniest play he had ever seen.

The event will start with a rare screening of the 1968 ITV Playhouse version of Entertaining Mr Sloane, starring Sheila Hancock, on loan from the British Film Institute. Speakers include the bestselling novelist Jake Arnott (author of, amongst others, The Long Firm and The House of Rumour), the acclaimed theatre director Nick Bagnall (who staged three Henry VI plays at The Globe in 2013), and internationally-recognised scholars Professor Simon Shepherd (CSSD, University of London) and Dr Francesca Coppa (Muhlenberg College, USA).

The day will close with Leonie Orton Barnett reading some of Orton’s hilarious ‘Edna Welthorpe’ letters and other unpublished items from the archive, including a letter of complaint to Santa Claus. The event accompanies an exhibition in the David Wilson Library of material from the Joe Orton archive. ‘Joe Orton in 1964’ runs from 2 May to 29 August 2014.

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