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Light Shining in Buckinghamshire is a play by British playwright Caryl Churchill written in 1976.[1]

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire
Written byCaryl Churchill
Date premieredSeptember 1976
Place premieredTraverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Original languageEnglish
Setting1647 England

The play dramatizes the Putney Debates.[2] Characters include Diggers, Levellers and Ranters.[3] Their idealism is contrasted with the pragmatism of Oliver Cromwell and Henry Ireton.[4]

The play was Churchill's first collaboration with the Joint Stock Theatre Company.[5] The title is taken from a Digger pamphlet More Light Shining in Buckinghamshire.[6] In 2008, Mark Ravenhill wrote in The Guardian, "Written for the leftwing company Joint Stock, the play charts the disintegration of radical political possibilities during the English civil war, skilfully balancing individual and communal experiences. It is a play that is rich in language: prayer, debate, ecstatic meetings, the stumbling attempts of the newly empowered to find a voice."[7]


Light Shining in Buckinghamshire opened at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, running between 7 September 1976 and 11 September 1976. It was produced by the Joint Stock Theatre Group with direction by Max Stafford-Clark.[8] Churchill specified that parts should swapped and the same character be played by different actors.[9]

It was revived at London's National Theatre in 2015. Direction was by Lyndsey Turner, with the cast that featured Leo Bill, Daniel Flynn and a "50-plus cast, standing shoulder to shoulder, is a powerful thing, especially when singing Helen Chadwick's choral arrangements in heartfelt harmony."[10][11][1]

It had its US premiere Off-Broadway at the Perry Street Theater in February 1991, directed by Lisa Peterson.[5]

The play was revived Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop on May 7, 2018. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, the cast features Vinie Burrows, Rob Campbell, Matthew Jeffers, Mikéah Ernest Jennings, Gregg Mozgala and Evelyn Spahr.[11]


  1. ^ a b Kate Kellaway (26 April 2015). "Light Shining in Buckinghamshire review – arguments fought with fire". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, by Caryl Churchill". Times Higher Education. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  3. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (24 April 2015). "Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, National Theatre, review: 'radical'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  4. ^ Henry Hitchings (24 April 2015). "Light Shining in Buckinghamshire theatre review: vision of English Civil War is meaty but still hard to digest at the National". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b Mel Gussow (February 17, 1991). "Review/Theater; Revolution As Seen By Caryl Churchill". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  6. ^ Dwight Garner (critic) (25 April 2018). "Prepare to Be Provoked. Caryl Churchill Is Back". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  7. ^ Mark Ravenhill (3 September 2008). "'She made us raise our game'". The Guardian. London, UK.
  8. ^ Light Shining in Buckinghamshire University of Glasgow, Scottish Theatre Archive, retrieved 8 May 2018
  9. ^ "Light Shining in Buckinghamshire Overview", retrieved May 8, 2018
  10. ^ Trueman, Matt. Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (NT Lyttelton), 24 April 2015
  11. ^ a b Clement, Olivia. "Light Shining in Buckinghamshire Opens at New York Theatre Workshop". Playbill. May 7, 2018.