The British playwright Caryl Churchill was born in London in 1938. She grew up in the Lake District and, during the Second World War, her family moved to Montreal, Canada. Churchill later returned to England to read English Literature at Oxford University, graduating in 1960. It was also while at Oxford that she began her literary career, writing three plays for student theatre groups. She went on to write plays for radio and television, then increasingly for the stage. In 1974, she became the first female playwright in residence at London's Royal Court Theatre, where she had her definitive breakthrough in 1979 with Cloud Nine. In this play she contextualised colonialism and feminism, had women play male roles and vice versa. In other plays, she explored her socialist convictions. She constantly developed the feminist position, and time and again her work radically broke with theatrical conventions. She earned numerous awards (including the Olivier Award and induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame) and left her mark on entire generations of British playwrights.
"Caryl Churchill has in some 40 plays – each a new creative challenge – developed her complex, innovative, visionary vocabulary ... England's most important playwright." (Theatre heute)
Her best-known plays include Top Girls (1982), Serious Money (1987), Far Away (2000), A Number (2002) and Love and Information (2012). Her work has been translated into nearly 40 languages; it has been performed around the globe, in over 45 countries, from Bulgaria to Australia, from Spain to China, Japan, Egypt, France, Germany, the USA and Canada, Slovenia, Italy, Estonia, the Philippines, much of South America and many more. In recent years Churchill has turned her attention to music and dance, collaborating with musicians and choreographers.
Caryl Churchill has in the past received multiple awards for her extensive work, including the Obie Award for Playwriting and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize several times. She has also received the Olivier Award and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2010.