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Image credit: Study of Pinter by Reginald Gray, 2007

Description of the project

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has awarded funds for a million-pound research project on the work of Harold Pinter (1930-2008). The project identifies and assesses every professional production of Pinter's plays in the UK between 1957 and 2017, as well as his output on television, radio and film. 


Led by Dr Mark Taylor-Batty (University of Leeds), working with Professor Jonathan Bignell (University of Reading) and Professor Graham Saunders (University of Birmingham), and a team of full-time researchers including Dr William Davies, Dr Billy Smart and Dr Amanda Wrigley, the project will create a public database drawing on the Pinter archive at the British Library and other sources such as the BBC Written Archives and theatre and personal archives.

Topics and research questions

The research was conducted from 2017-19 and aimed to facilitate the construction of new appreciations of how Pinter's work across media forms his distinctive voice, and the impact that his output has had.

Pinter's work has been central to world theatre since the 1960s, and his films shaped British cinema. His contribution to literature and the world stage was recognised by a Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, and his films have won BAFTA and Palme d'Or awards.

Pinter's plays include classics such as The Caretaker (1959), No Man's Land (1975) and One for the Road (1984) and he scripted films such as The Go-Between (1970) and The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981).

His work has influenced other writers and his career has involved significant collaborations with actors and directors including Dirk Bogarde, Judi Dench, Michael Gambon, John Gielgud, Peter Hall, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Losey, Ralph Richardson, Ian Rickson and Meryl Streep.

Results of the research

Knowledge and information was shared via website, blog, conference and published work, and also innovative formats of eBook, iBook and proposals for an interactive app concept. In 2018, the tenth anniversary of Pinter's death, the British Film Institute (BFI) presented a curated season of screenings at BFI Southbank, in collaboration with the project team, to mark Pinter's contribution to British screen culture.

New investigations into his long-standing creative relationships with directors and performers offer important insight into Pinter's impact on contemporary practice on stage and screen.

For more information see the main project web page, or contact Professor Jonathan Bignell: