Kevin Elyot (playwright) Archive

Scope and Content

Papers of the actor and playwright Kevin Elyot (1951-2014). This contains material relating to his early acting career at school, university and afterwards. It also charts his development as a writer, containing material relating to all his works for stage, screen and radio including many adaptations. Throughout the archive his process is shown with the number of drafts and reworkings of scripts. Included are a number of incomplete or never produced works, mainly from early in his career but present throughout.

Administrative / Biographical History

Kevin Elyot (1951 - 2014) was an English actor and playwright. Born Kevin Lee in Birmingham in 1951, he was educated at King Edward School, and then studied Drama at the University of Bristol, graduating in 1973. He wrote from an early age, but following graduation from Bristol he first found modest success with acting and had a successful career, as shown by the number and variety of roles he played, evidenced in his archive.

It was as a writer, however, that Elyot was most successful, with hits like My Night With Reg (1994), which transferred to the West End, and was translated into German, Spanish and Portuguese (amongst others) and produced around the work, including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. It was also made into a BBC film in 1995.

Elyot also wrote original works for radio and television alongside his stage work, throughout his career, most notably of Agatha Christie novels for Granada. He adapted a total of nine of Christie's works between 2003-2013, mainly Miss Marple or Poirot. He also adapted Christie's And Then There Were None for the stage in 2005.

When the Kevin Elyot archive was donated to the Theatre Collection, the Kevin Elyot Award was also established, with an endowement made by Elyot's family. This award is made annually to a playwright in the form of a subsidised residency based at the Theatre Collection and taking the Kevin Elyot as inspiration for creating new work.


The Kevin Elyot archive has been organised in the following way: initially into the different aspects of his career: acting, writing and music (a very minor aspect). Within each section the material has been arranged chronologically as far as possible. With the acting this is chronological by date of production; for the writing it is chronological by date of production if the play/screenplay/radio play was produced and by date of the scripts/notes/workings if the work was not produced. Sometimes these scripts will have been worked on over a number of years and concurrently so there will inevitably be cross over in the dates and works.

Conditions Governing Access

DPA may apply to some records

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Mainly paper based, with some audio-visual material

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright belongs to his agent or family (tbc)

Custodial History

The archive was donated to the Theatre Collection by Kevin Elyot's sister, Pauline Lee in 2014 following Kevin Elyot's death.


Elyot's sister occassionally sends more items to add to the collection.

Related Material

Material in the University of Bristol Drama Department Archive relating to productions which Kevin Elyot (Kevin Lee at the time) was involved in during his time as a student in the department.