Peggy Ramsay

(1908—1991) play agent

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(b. Molong, Australia, 27 May 1908; d. London, 4 Sept. 1991) The outstanding play agent in Britain after the Second World War. Brought up in South Africa, she came to England in 1929 and toured with an opera company before becoming an actress. She read scripts for various managements and briefly ran the Q Theatre in west London before becoming an agent in 1954. While representing avant-garde writers from abroad like Ionesco and Adamov, her first homegrown discovery was Robert Bolt, who became internationally renowned with A Man for All Seasons (1960). She nurtured outsiders like David Mercer and, famously, Joe Orton as well as writers in their youth, taking on Christopher Hampton when he was 20 and Stephen Poliakoff when he was 16. Her remarkably catholic range of clients included the major names of their time, from Alan Ayckbourn, Edward Bond and Caryl Churchill to David Hare and Willy Russell. A larger-than-life figure who helped change the status of playwrights in the theatre, she was known for her formidable candour and her outrageous indiscretions, but above all for her commitment to talent. She figured in several plays, either as the basis for a character or as herself, most notably in Alan Plater's Peggy For You. After her death, the Peggy Ramsay Foundation was established by her estate in order to help playwrights.

From The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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