David Hare (playwright)

Sir David Rippon Hare FRSL 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.

David Hare

David-Hare-edinburgh-film-festival-2018 (cropped).jpg
BornDavid Rippon Hare
(1947-06-05) 5 June 1947 (age 75)
St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, Sussex, England
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter, director
EducationLancing College
Alma materJesus College, Cambridge
Notable worksFull list
Notable awardsFull awards
SpouseNicole Farhi

In the West End, he had his greatest success with the plays Plenty (1978), which he adapted into a 1985 film starring Meryl Streep, 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 Awards for Best New Play. Other notable projects on stage include A Map of the World, Pravda (starring Anthony Hopkins at the National Theatre in London), Murmuring Judges, The Absence of War, The Vertical Hour, and his latest play Straight Line Crazy starring Ralph Fiennes. He wrote screenplays for films including the Stephen Daldry dramas The Hours (2002) and The Reader (2008) and BBC's Page Eight (2011) and Netflix's Collateral (2018).

In addition to his two Academy Award nominations, Hare has received 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.

Early lifeEdit

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 (MA (Cantab.), English Literature). While at Cambridge he was the Hiring Manager on the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club Committee in 1968.[6]


Early workEdit

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. Aside from films he has also written teleplays such as, for the BBC, Licking Hitler (1978), and, for Thames Television, Saigon: Year of the Cat (1983).[citation needed]


Hare founded a film company called Greenpoint Films in 1982, and has written screenplays such as Plenty, Wetherby, Strapless, and Paris by Night. In 1983 his play A Map of the World in 1983 was produced at the Royal National Theatre. The production starred Bill Nighy, Diana Quick, and Ronald Hines. The play is set at the Unesco conference on poverty held in Bombay in 1978. It transferred to The Public Theatre in 1985 starring Alfre Woodard, Elizabeth McGovern, and Zeljko Ivanek. In a mixed review The New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich wrote, "The play is in part about conflicting points of view - about how reactionaries and leftists look at geopolitics, how journalists and novelists look at events and how the West and the Third World look at each other."[7]

In 1985, Hare wrote Pravda with Howard Brenton, its title refers to the Russian Communist party newspaper Pravda. The play, a satire on the mid-1980s newspaper industry, in particular the Australian media and press baron Rupert Murdoch,[8][9] stars Anthony Hopkins in a role which earned him the Laurence Olivier Award. 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).[10]


In 1990, Hare wrote Racing Demon, part of a trio of plays about British institutions, it focuses on the Church of England, and tackles issues such as gay ordination, and the role of evangelism in inner-city communities. The play debuted at the National Theatre and received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. The play transferred to the Broadway stage at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in 1995. The production starred Paul Giamatti, Denis O'Hare, and Kathleen Chalfant. The play was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. In 1996, Hare wrote Skylight, a play about a woman who receives an unexpected visit from her former lover whose wife has recently died. Michael Gambon and Lia Williams starred in the original production which received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. The following year it transferred to the Broadway stage where it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.[citation needed]

Hare wrote Amy's View in 1998, a play which deals with an emotional relationship between a mother and her daughter. The original production at the Royal National Theatre starred Judi Dench, Samantha Bond, and Ronald Pickup. Dench starred in the Broadway transfer earning the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.[citation needed]


In 2001, Hare wrote, My Zinc Bed which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre starring Tom Wilkinson, Julia Ormond, and Steven Mackintosh. The play was adapted into a television film of the same name in 2008. The play received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play nomination, Hare's eighth Olivier award nomination. The following year Hare wrote the screenplay for The Hours (2002) adapted from the Michael Cunningham book of the same name. The film starred an ensemble cast including Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman as women from three different time periods struggling against adversity. He received the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay nomination as well as BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award nominations.[citation needed]

In 2008, he adapted Bernhard Schlink's 1995 novel into Stephen Daldry's film The Reader starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes. The film focuses on a romance in the 1950s between a teenaged boy and an older woman who is later discovered to have been a Nazi guard and is on trial for committing war crimes during the Holocaust. The film was well reviewed and earned Hare his second Academy Award nomination. He also received BAFTA and Golden Globe Award nominations as well.[citation needed]


In December 2011, it was announced that his monologue Wall about the Israeli West Bank barrier was being adapted by Cam Christiansen as a live-action/animated documentary by the National Film Board of Canada;[11] originally slated for completed in 2014, Wall premiered at the Calgary International Film Festival in 2017.[12] 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.[13] His career is examined in the Reputations strand on TheatreVoice.[14] 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.[15]

In 2016, Hare wrote the screenplay for Denial based on Deborah Lipstadt's History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier. The film starred Tom Wilkinson, Rachel Weisz, and Timothy Spall. The film dramatises the Irving v Penguin Books Ltd case, in which Lipstadt, a Holocaust scholar, was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving for libel. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews. It later received the BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film nomination.[citation needed]


In 2020, he contracted COVID-19, an experience reflected in his monologue Beat the Devil with Ralph Fiennes in the starring role.[16] In 2022, he wrote, Straight Line Crazy. The play is set in the 1920s through the 1960s in New York City and centres around the life of Robert Moses portrayed by Fiennes.[17] Fiennes stars as Moses, once a powerful man in New York and the "master builder" of infrastructure from new parks, bridges and expressways. During his working life, he served on the New York State Council of Parks and was the New York Secretary of State. The play premiered at the Bridge Theatre in London in March 2022. The play transferred to the New York stage with Fiennes at The Shed in October 2022.[citation needed]


In 1993, he sold his archive to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. 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.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

He is married to the French fashion designer Nicole Farhi.[citation needed]

In 1993 Hare's best friend Sarah Matheson was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy and died from the disease in 1999. In January 2015, Hare broadcast the BBC Radio 4 Appeal to raise money for the Multiple System Atrophy Trust, which was founded by Matheson.[19]


Selected credits




Awards and honoursEdit

For his work in theatre he has received eight Laurence Olivier Award nominations, winning the award twice, for Racing Demon in 1990 and Skylight in 1996. He has also received three Tony Award nominations for Plenty in 1985, Racing Demon in 1996 and Skylight in 1997. He aldo received the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (1975), a BAFTA Award (1979), the New York Drama Critics Circle Award (1983), and the London Theatre Critics' Award (1990).[citation needed]

Hare has received various award nominations for his film work, including two Academy Award nominations for The Hours (2002), and The Reader (2008); two Golden Globe Award nominations; and five BAFTA Award nominations.[citation needed] He was awarded the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear in 1985. In 1997, he was a member of the jury at the 47th Berlin International Film Festival.[25]

He has also received various honours including knighthoods, degrees, and fellows. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1985. This gave him the Post Nominal Letters "FRSL" for Life.[26] He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Jesus College, Cambridge in 2001.[27] He was knighted in the 1998 Queen's Birthday Honours List "For services to the Theatre". This allows him to use the title Sir. He was awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) by the University of East Anglia in 2010.[28]


  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. ^ Rich, Frank (2 October 1985). "THEATER: 'A MAP OF THE WORLD,' BY DAVID HARE". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Pravda - Drama Online". www.dramaonlinelibrary.com.
  9. ^ "BBC - The National Theatre At 50: Pravda - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
  10. ^ David Hare Archived 1 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Eric Volmers, "Cam Christiansen, David Hare and the NFB break down barriers with animated 'essay' Wall". Calgary Herald, September 15, 2017.
  13. ^ "The New School for Drama Names Sir David Hare Artist-In-Residence".
  14. ^ Assessments (2008) by Michael Billington, Richard Boon, Richard Eyre, Charles Spencer and Dominic Cavendish; [1]
  15. ^ C. Sullivan, "The Present: Hare and Shrinking Government Provision", in Literature in the Public Service: Sublime Bureaucracy (2013), ch. 4.
  16. ^ Akbar, Arifa (30 August 2020). "Beat the Devil review – righteous rage of David Hare's corona nightmare". The Observer. London. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Ralph Fiennes Leads World Premiere of Straight Line Crazy, Opening March 23 at London's The Bridge". Playbill. Archived from the original on 13 April 2022. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  18. ^ "David Hare: An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center". norman.hrc.utexas.edu. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Sir David Hare to broadcast the BBC Radio 4 Appeal for the MSA Trust". Multiple System Atrophy Trust. 18 December 2014.
  20. ^ Hare, David (31 July 2014). Writing Left-Handed: Collected Essays. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571301249 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ John Thaxter, "Gethsemane" review, The Stage, 12 November 2008.
  22. ^ Kellaway, Kate (15 February 2009). "Theatre review: Berlin, a reading by David Hare". the Guardian.
  23. ^ Billington, Michael (19 April 2009). "Theatre review: Wall / Royal Court, London". the Guardian.
  24. ^ "National Theatre : Productions : The Power of Yes". Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  25. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  26. ^ "Sir David Hare". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  27. ^ "Honorary and St Radegund Fellows". Jesus College, University of Cambridge. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Honorary Gradates University of East Anglia". The University of East Anglia. Retrieved 14 March 2022.

External linksEdit