She's known for her radical investment in feminism and anti-psychiatry as well as her multidisciplinary involvement in the performing arts. She's written poetically and in prose for TV, film and theatre as well as worked with famous artists including Harold Pinter, Charles Bates and Allen Laughton. For her dynamic impact on theatre, film and televison in North America and Europe, we're celebrating Jane Arden as today's playwright of the day.
Today's particular cause for celebration is Arden's 1958 debut of The Party which was directed by Charles Laughton for London's New Theatre and starred Albert Finney in his first stage appearance. This family drama broke social ground in London theatre as it bravely explores mental illness and, implicitly, incest. Arden's investigation of taboo an conformity met with censorship issues in late-fifties London. She navigates expertly and poetically through topics no one would dare mention and she crafts tension with the kind of overwhelming sensation that makes you take a deep breath at the end of the play.
For her fortuity and courage, we honour Jane Arden today. A look through her work will prove to you the kind of bravado her voice rang with at the time and, we think, still rings with to this day.
Shout-outs to our friends who ring with Arden-flavoured brilliance: Victoria Urquhart, Michaela Jeffrey, Elena Belyea,