Playwright Barry Reckord Dies at 85

His pioneering work continues to have an impact on Britain's "authentic" theater. 

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Barry Reckord (Margaret Reckord Bernal)

Barry Reckord, a pioneering playwright from Jamaica who was best known for his work capturing the conflicts of class and race in 1960s Britain, has died at age 85.

From the United Kingdom's Guardian newspaper:

In the 1950s and 60s, when black playwriting was just being "discovered" in Britain, Reckord was among those (including Wole Soyinka and Errol John) to have their work produced. According to the director Yvonne Brewster: "A claim might even be made that he was the first of this small band to enter the scene, if one takes into account a small fringe production of his first play Della [staged as Adella by his brother Lloyd in London in 1954]."

Skyvers, Reckord's most successful work, has had a continuing impact on British "authentic" theatre. Dealing with the alienation and rage of a group of south London boys in the last few days at their sink school, and originally directed by Ann Jellicoe in 1963, it featured an all-white cast including David Hemmings. Included in Penguin's New English Dramatists series (1966), Reckord's play was extolled by Michael Billington in his introduction for reminding us "of the many large gaps in the portrayal of the social scene by contemporary British dramatists". Skyvers again earned Reckord accolades at a rehearsed reading for the Royal Court's 50th anniversary in 2006, produced by Pam Brighton. It was one of three plays in the collection For the Reckord, edited by Brewster and published in 2010 ...

Read more at the Guardian.

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