Alt Ref NoAO
TitleAlun Owen Papers
DescriptionA collection which consists mostly of the works of Alun Owen.

The papers provide an insight into his life as an actor and writer but is also of importance in the greater context of the history of English drama.

His plays were written during a time when social realism was a growing movement. Real, working class life was being depicted in the work of dramatists and Alun Owen was one of a generation of writers, alongside the likes of John Osbourne and Harold Pinter, who was championing this "kitchen sink realism".

Armchair Theatre (ITV) and Play for Today (BBC) produced socially relevant and challenging drama that addressed sensitive issues. "No Trams to Lime Street" was screened on Armchair Theatre in 1959 and is one of its best-known plays, alongside "A Night Out" by Harold Pinter.

This collection contains drama scripts, theatre programmes, photographs and the little red "Lion Brand" note books in which Alun Owen used to write his plays before they were typed by his wife.
Extent401 items
AdminHistoryIt is thought that Alun Owen was born in Liverpool in 1925, although some biographies record Menai Bridge as his place of birth. His father, Sidney, was a Welshman from Dolgellau and his mother, Ruth, from Holyhead, but of Irish descent. As a result, Wales, Liverpool and Ireland were great influences in his life. When Alun was 8 years old the family moved to Liverpool where he attended St Michael's Hamlet Primary School and later Oulton High School.

When the Second World War broke out he was sent as an evacuee from Liverpool to Llangefni and then to Cardiganshire. He became a Bevin Boy, working in the coal mines of South Wales before turning his hand to acting. As well as appearing in several theatre performances, he also featured in the films, "Shield of Faith" and "The Dam Busters". He joined the Birmingham Repertory Company and then moved to London to work with various stage companies.

In 1942 he married Mary O'Keefe, a set designer. They had two sons, Teifion and Gareth. Mary Owen gave up her career to support her husband, typing his plays for him.

He started writing in the mid 1950s and in 1957 he had his "big break" as a dramatist when the BBC accepted his radio play "Two Sons". Then followed "Progress to the Park", "Rough and Ready Lot" and "Maggie May". Although Alun Owen is probably best known for being the scriptwriter for the “A Hard Day's Night”, the 1964 Beatles film, it is significant that this work only brought him fame but not fortune.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Alun Owen was a prolific writer and continued to produce work (including poetry) into his sixties. One of his last television dramas was based on the life of the artist, Rembrandt.

Later in life he and his wife also conducted poetry readings and would participate in study schools on creative writing.

Alun Owen died in December 1994.
AccessConditionsAccess unrestricted unless otherwise stated. This collection contains personal data about living individuals, and readers are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 in their use of the material. Items AO/15/40 and AO/15/43 are closed during the lifetime of Gareth Owen.
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