William Lawrence was brought up in the East End of London. His father was a docker who wrote and performed poetry in many of the local pubs in the area.
Lawrence trained at the Chelsea/Hammersmith School in Sculpture. But his love of literature led him toward the world of books and he worked as PA to the late 2nd Viscount Maugham – known as the writer Robin Maugham from 1971-1981. During that period, he took down in dictation, typed out and creatively assisted the author with over a dozen of his plays, novels and filmscripts.
Lawrence’s first play was CATWALK – a reading at the Red Lion Islington,1989. It was written in loving memory of two former friends: Gary (27) and Martin (36) both of whom died of 'AIDS'. The drama was first performed at the Marlborough, Brighton as: THE SHOW MUST GO ON. Then rewritten later as NEVER WALK ALONE and sponsored by Aids Positive Underground based in Brighton, East Sussex, as a tribute to its leading light, Graham Wilkinson. Soon after that the work was produced and directed by Hugh Futcher for the Theatro Technis in Camden. The reviews:
Never Walk Alone is a… well constructed, often moving two-hander… Lawrence never forfeits our trust… Where it excels is in its presentation of humanity stripped bare… The play may not make you feel better about death, but it may well make you feel considerably better about life.
Never Walk Alone… an abrasive two-hander… about opposites painfully growing towards each other… From the violence of the football terraces… to the melancholy of a hospice… both the rabidly heterosexual Dave and the happily homosexual Luke have Aids … ruthlessly hewn… theatrically gripping piece…
“…a brilliant work.”
Writer William Lawrence avoids cliché… insightful, witty dialogue and poignant characterizations.
After the positive response to the play, NEVER WALK ALONE was sponsored by Hasting Arts Council to tour schools, colleges and universities in the South East – as part of an AIDS awareness campaign when the HIV virus was still fatal and spreading fast.
Lawrence adapted a fragment of the play for the mainstream in order to break stereotypes. It can and can be seen on YouTube under the title: TOMORROW BELONGS TO NOBODY by William Lawrence. In the video Lawrence has focused the work into a monologue of about ten minutes, delivered by a female footballer who is living with HIV. The film was shown on World AIDS Day
In 1982 Lawrence exhibited a collection of bronze portraits at All Hallows by the Tower:
Elton John, Rod Stewart, Christopher Biggins, Robin Maugham, Alec Waugh - various other celebrities - founder of the labour National History Museum, Henry Fry.
He then returned to writing with his next play, Angel of the Sun which later became The Sabre’s Edge - a powerful piece set in an asylum, inside the mind of the dancer Nijinsky. This time the sponsorship came via a grant from the Arts Council of Great Britain in their Arts 4 Everyone programme.
In 2008 Lawrence wrote, produced and directed a play centred around ‘the war on terror’ titled BLUE ON BLUE. The drama was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival and had a 5 star review from The Scotsman. Once again, a fragment of the work is available on YouTube: BLUE ON BLUE by William G Lawrence.
Lawrence has recently finished his biographical work titled: My Search for the Missing Diaries of Lord Robin Maugham or SEX, SUNLIGHT ‘N JAMTARTS -a true story – which is now with his agent Eric Glass and an interested publishing company.
At present the writer is in the process of completing a musical play about the infamous pirate Captain Henry Morgan in which he intends to use his experience as a playwright and sculpture to create original set designs for the piece.
My Search for the Missing Diaries of Lord Robin Maugham or SEX, SUNLIGHT ‘N JAMTARTS This is a true story that took place in the lead-up to the 1992 General Election in the United Kingdom. It is a real-life drama, a WHODUNNIT with all the ingredients of a political thriller. Robin Maugham, the 2nd Viscount Maugham, worked for British Intelligence; his connections were worldwide - from the rich and powerful, to the notorious spies and the human traffickers of North Africa. We were lovers for the last ten years of his life; yet, in certain ways, he was a man I did not know. Some ten years after his death I put in a request to see his collection of 36 diaries left in trust for me; chronicles dating back to his friendship with Winston Churchill and his uncle Somerset Maugham. But my lawyer informed me that they had mysteriously disappeared from the home of one of his executors, his sister, the honourable Diana Maugham. Thus began my quest to uncover the whereabouts of my partner’s lost journals; a quest that was to lead me into a tangled web of intrigue which threatened my very existence and changed my understanding of the world and of my past forever.
"…your book gave me enormous pleasure, reminding me so agreeably of our mis-spent youth… a beautiful book.”
Professor Sir Michael Howard
British military historian, Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University and founder of the Department of War Studies, King's College London.
“Your writing is clear, crisp, has a good natural flow, so very readable… a fascinating and honest book - congratulations.”
Author, Playwright, Artist
Robin Maugham is an underrated writer and this fascinating book by William Lawrence will help bring a new light to this complex character.'
Biographer: The Mountbattens
“Have just read it… and it was something that is summed up in one word… Excellent!.
You write so smoothly; it all just flows. While also being very descriptive and most of all fun… Am sure you’ll have a well-deserved success.”
Portrait Photographer, covered the wedding of Judy Garland to Mickey Deans; members of the British Royal Family.