In the early 1980s, Churchill suddenly became one of the contemporary British dramatists best represented on New York stages, as three of her plays were produced in succession. Cloud Nine (1978), directed by Tommy Tune, held the stage for two years and won an Obie (as did Top Girls, 1982). In England Churchill's career has been less abrupt, a long migration among the characteristic outlets of the new drama. From 1961 to 1972, she wrote radio plays. Owners (1972) was her first stage work commissioned by the Royal Court, where she became resident dramatist in 1974, and which staged Objections to Sex and Violence in 1975. The following year Churchill began working with two of the important fringe theater companies. One company was Joint Stock for which she wrote Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, (1976), Cloud Nine, and Fen (1982). The other was a feminist group named Monstrous Regiment for which she wrote Vinegar Tom (1976), and contributions to the revue Floorshow. The Lucille Lortel Theatre (New York) production of Cloud Nine in 1981 ushered in the most recent, transatlantic phase of Churchill's career. New York's Public Theater, as well as London's Royal Court, staged versions of Top Girls in 1982. Churchill writes many different kinds of plays. Examples are Ortonesque, about the grotesques of Owners, historical as in versions of the seventeenth century in Light Shining, about the English Civil War, and Vinegar Tom, about witchcraft. She also writes expressionist (the cross-sexual casting and doubling in Cloud Nine), and formally experimental (the permutations of situation in her dramatic Mobius strip, Traps). She is increasingly feminist in outlook. But, if her demonstrations of sexual liberation are sometimes pat (as in the second half of Cloud Nine), her theatrical adventurousness is always invigorating.
Sarah Kane studied at Bristol and Birmingham universities. Recognised as a highly influential new vo ice in European theatre, her work was championed by the Royal Court. She died in February 1999, aged 28.
Martin McDonagh's first play THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE was the 1996 winner of the George Devine Award, won the Writer's Guild Award for Best Fringe Play and the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer. The play was nominated for six Tony awards, of which it won four, and the Laurence Olivier Award.