John Retallack

Playwright, Radio/tv/screenwriter


John was born in Oxford and, after a long spell in London, now lives in the city with his wife, Renata Allen. He was a theatre director for thirty years. He founded Actors Touring Company in the eighties, directed the Oxford Playhouse Company in the nineties and established the new writing group, Company of Angels, in 2000. His directing work includes Shakespeare, twentieth-century classics and new plays. His productions have been seen all over the world.

He has written over twenty plays and adaptations for theatre and for radio. Amongst several nominations and awards, he is proudest of winning a Herald Angel at Edinburgh in 2001 for his first play, Hannah and Hanna. His twelve plays are translated into a number of languages and have been performed throughout Europe. They are published in England by Oberon and Methuen. All focus on aspects of social change seen through the lives of young people.

John is passionate about new writing in both playwriting and fiction. He works a lot with new and established writers in a variety of settings including Oxford Playhouse, the University of Oxford MSt in Creative Writing and his own playwriting course. John has also adapted and directed work by Byron, Cervantes, Musil, Camus, Mankell, Priestley and a number of modern writers.

John has worked extensively in Holland and Belgium. He visits France regularly and still struggles to achieve fluency in the language. His pastimes include Bach, swimming, Test Match cricket and keeping up a daily journal of his life.

More from John Retallack

John Retallack

John Retallack

Playwright, Radio/tv/screenwriter


[email protected]




  • Worcester College, University of Oxford, 2019–2021