William Lawrence, playwright, artist: Born in Barking, Essex in 1951; brought up in the East End of London. He trained at the Chelsea and Hammersmith School of Art for sculpture whilst also working in the literary field.
William Lawrence lived and worked with the writer Robin Maugham, 2nd Viscount Maugham of Hartfield, author of The Servant, from 1971 until Maugham's death in 1981. He is a trustee of the 2nd Viscount Maugham’s estate as set out by deed of appointment of 5th December 2007 and also the main beneficiary and copyright holder of the known works of the author as set out by the High Court Grant of Probate of 23rd January 1984.
William Lawrence worked on over a dozen projects with the author, finally collaborating on the comic novel, KNOCK ON TEAK. He was initially inspired to be a writer by his father: a docker who worked in the Royal Albert docks by day and recited poetry at pub venues by night.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – William Lawrence established a theatre group Crystal Theatre in 1990 for the staging of his first play, You’ll Never Walk Alone. The drama was supported by John Roman Baker, playwright, and sponsored by THE Aids Positive UNDERGROUND for a World Aids Day production in memory of Graham Wilkinson Director of the Sussex AIDS Centre. It ran at The Marlborough Theatre from Nov. 28- Dec 2nd.
You’ll Never Walk Alone is centred around two characters, one a homophobic football fan and the other a stand-up comedian. It was inspired by the lives of two of William Lawrence’s former lovers who died of the HIV virus. In August 1991 the production was staged in London at the Theatro Technis, Camden and obtained excellent reviews from The Guardian and The Stage:
‘… 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.’
You’ll 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 an hospice… both the rabidly heterosexual Dave and the happily homosexual Luke have Aids … ruthlessly hewn… theatrically gripping piece…
Never Walk Alone toured in 1995 – the play with its new title: Never Walk Alone, was sponsored by Hastings Arts Council and HARRASS, the Hastings and Rother Aids Support Society. The production visited schools, colleges and universities in the South East of England, finishing its tour at THE STABLES THEATRE, hasting. The drama ran from December 1995 – January 1996 as part of a World AIDS Day safe sex awareness campaign.
YouTube - the work was later adapted for a mainstream audience in the form of a harrowing ten-minute monologue of a female footballer living with the HIV virus: Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody by William Lawrence.
The Sabre’s Edge - 1997 - written and directed by William Lawrence was sponsored by the Arts Council for Great Britain as part of their A4E - Arts for Everyone - programme, which awarded the production a grant of £4.900. The play ran at The Barons Court Theatre, Hammersmith for four weeks and for a short run at the Bourne Theatre, Hastings. It was reviewed by Emma Manning for The Stage newspaper:
‘… It provides endless questions about who Nijinsky really was, his sexual colours and the illness that destroyed him. While Lawrence leaves us to let our imagination gallop, he structures his writing with inspired efficiency and great detail of the protagonists’ lives is unfurled… absorbing and credible.’
Blue On Blue – 2009 - William Lawrence wrote, produced and directed his play, Blue On Blue for the 2009 Edinburg Fringe Festival. The drama is set in war-torn Afghanistan in a secluded ravine around the grave of a British soldier not far from a destroyed military truck with a suspicious cargo, where three characters collide, a female US lieutenant, a Mujahedeen fighter and a British Intelligence officer. The drama explores the complex issues of ‘the war on terror’ from Western and Muslim perspectives. It obtained a five star review from Anna Millar in The Scotsman.
YouTube – a ten minute segment of Blue On Blue can be seen on YouTube.
William Lawrence recently wrote the introductions for two novels by Robin Maugham published by Valancourt Books 20th Century Classics in 2019 - The Servant and The Wrong People.
1971 – 1981
PA to the late Viscount Maugham, known as the writer, Robin Maugham.
Took down in dictation, typed, and worked creatively on the following projects:
1, THE BARRIER – novel set in an India, up-country hill station at the time of the RAJ.
2, THE SIGN – novel set in AD20 – centred around the character of a preacher, CALEB, who comes to believe himself to be the Messiah.
3, KNOCK ON TEAK – comic novel – written in collaboration with Robin Maugham – set on an exotic, imaginary island off the coast of Sri Lanka where hashish has been legalised – centred around the journey taken by a novelist, TEAK, to increase his failing book sales.
4, SEARCH FOR NIRVANA – autobiography – researched and travelled with the writer to fined the perfect place to settle down.
5, NIJINSKY – play based on the life of the Russian dancer Vaslav Fomich Nijinsky – for which I travelled with the writer to meet Romola de Pulsky, the dancer’s wife, with regard to collaboration and research for the project (play never performed).
6, THE CORRIDOR – psychological thriller – centred in the mind of a man who goes back through the decisions he has made in his life.
7, THE SIGN – film script.
8, THE LINK – film script based on Robin Maugham’s novel of the same title set in Victorian England and centred around the subject of identity theft when a man appears after being presumed dead, to claim the estate and fortune of an English aristocrat – based on a true legal case, THE TICHBORNE CASE.
9, THE SIGN – play script and film script based on Robin Maugham’s novel of the same title.
10, LOVERS IN EXILE – a collection of short stories centred around the theme of broken lovers.
11, THE DIVIDING LINE – a novel and film script set in Agadir during the aftermath of the earthquake – centred around the theme of mistaken identity.
12, REFUGE – novel written in collaboration – centred around a man searching for a way to escape his suburban nightmare (unpublished).
13, THE SERVANT – the original version of Robin Maugham’s play, based on his novella of the same title. The original play script was recently discovered and edited to a II Act play by William Lawrence with assistance from Peter Benedict.
Career as a Sculptor
Trained at the Chelsea School of Art, UK
Various commissions, including portraits of Rod Stewart; Sir Elton John; Alec Waugh; Robin Maugham; Henry Fry, founder of the Labour National History Museum; Brian Desmond Hurst…
Exhibited at ALL HALLOWS by THE TOWER in London. Commissioned by The Dockland Development Corporation for a sculpture titled: ENTERPRISE – for the opening of East London’s Dockland by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Geoffrey Howe.
2009 – QUALIFIED AS A TEACHER OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TO FOREIGN STUDENTS
2019 – WILLIAM LAWENCE CRYSTAL THEATRE/NEW EXPERIMENTAL THEATRE
INVOLVEMENT THERAPY FOR THOSE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA
We are working on a project written in collaboration
with nursing staff and Activities Coordinators of a local nursing home.
The main cast of the production is made up of the residents living with dementia.
This a new experimental piece that we hope will enable residents to express themselves
with words, movement, music and drama - as a beneficial form of involvement therapy -
which has already had great success.
The most recent production has been filmed.
2020 – PROJECTED WORK
THE GHOSTS OF CAPTAIN MORGAN - set in the late 1600’s based on the life of the pirate Captain Henry Morgan and his notorious exploits – it is also a coming of age saga.
Starlight ‘n Jam Tarts - William Lawrence has just finished his first novel, Starlight 'n Jam Tarts which is to be published on Kindle. It is based on a true story involving his journey of self-discovery whilst in search of the missing diaries of the late Robin Maugham.
For more information/confirmation of the above contact William Lawrence's agents Eric Glass Ltd.