Literary papers and correspondence of John Mackendrick, with related material

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 Brotherton Collection MS 20c Mackendrick
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      5 boxes and 9 large rolled posters; manuscript, typescript, photographs, press cuttings, and printed material (some photocopy).  Includes 9 printed posters.

Scope and Content

Comprises: (1) 3 boxes of autograph typescript and manuscript drafts of Mackendrick's plays, including (Box 1) many drafts of 'Rules' (at least 7 with some incomplete and one version called 'Religion'), (Box 2) 4 drafts of 'Who'll be next and who'll be lucky', with 1 draft bound in a file with a prose story, 'Fables' and the play 'Noli me tangere', 5 drafts of 'Canticle', and 6 drafts of 'Woyzeck', 1 with an extra section 'twenty-five', and (Box 3) 2 drafts of 'Lavender Blue', 2 drafts of 'Further prospects', 1 draft each of 'Noli me tangere' and 'Cain', a copy of Edward Bond's play 'Bingo' annotated by Mackendrick, 2 drafts of 'No hands', 4 drafts of 'Ludd!', 1 draft of 'Nasty anal teeter: a play for radio', by Clarence Thrubb (Bootle), 2 drafts of 'Doctor Struensee', and 1 draft of 'Over the page, or A boot in the snoot'; (2) 1 box (Box 4) of autograph typescript and manuscript drafts of other writings by Mackendrick, including (i) 1 file of short stories, (ii) 2 large files of miscellaneous poems, and (iii) 4 files of critical works by Mackendrick, namely, 3 on 'Hamlet', including his 1975 Leeds MA thesis entitled 'Five windows light the caverned man: an essay on the themes of perception and percipience in Hamlet', and 1 on Yeats entitled 'Words for music'; (3) 1 box (Box 5) of miscellaneous other material, including (i) 5 files of his correspondence with various colleagues and between others, dated from 1974 to 1994, 1 of these concerning the creation of this archive in the Brotherton Library by his friends, together with a typed list of his manuscripts acquired by the library in 1981, (ii) a small collection of colour and black and white photographs of his stage productions and 1 portrait photograph of himself, (iii) a small group of reviews of his plays extracted from the press, and (iv) a group of theatre programmes and other publicity material printed for productions of his plays, dated from 1970 until 1983; and (4) 9 large rolled posters advertising productions of his plays, held beside the boxes.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Mackendrick, the playwright, was born in Heckmondwike in 1946, brought up in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and educated at Worksop College. He studied English at Nottingham University before taking a variety of jobs in England, India, the Far East, and Australia. He studied drama at Leeds University in 1975, and in 1976 became Yorkshire Arts Fellow in Creative Writing attached to Bretton Hall College of Education and Sheffield University. In 1977 he was appointed a Resident Dramatist at the National Theatre. He wrote five major plays: 'Ludd!', 'Doctor Struensee', 'Lavender Blue', 'Canticle', and 'Rules'; also some shorter plays, collections of poetry, short stories, and criticism. He committed suicide at his home in Bristol on 16 January 1979.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

The gift of Dr Michael Patterson, 1981.


In English.