Rodney Ackland

Rodney Ackland was born in 1908 in Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex and studied at London's Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art. His first play, 'Improper People', was produced at the Arts Theatre Club, London in 1929. After his 1932 West End debut with 'Strange Orchestra', Ackland went on to have many other successes, but his work then fell into virtual obscurity for three decades until 'The Dark River' (1942) was revived at the Orange Tree, Richmond in 1985. It was acclaimed by Hilary Spurling in The Spectator as "perhaps the one indisputably great play of the past half century in English". The subsequent success of 'Absolute Hell' at the Orange Tree, Royal National Theatre and on BBC TV in the 1990s restored Ackland's reputation as a great playwright. He died in 1991.