David is a playwright, poet and novelist. He has written many plays for the professional and community theatre, and for BBC Radio. His novels include Shadow Bringer, published by Oxford University Press, and Robin Hood, published by Barefoot Books. His latest novel is The Hunt for the Great Bear, for which at the moment he is seeking an agent and/or publisher. Several plays for young people are also published by Oxford, among them Lady Macbeth, The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty and Salem, and adaptations of Beowulf and Dracula. He has worked closely over the years with Midland Actors Theatre, on pieces such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Mothers, and, most recently, The White Shining Land, an ongoing community theatre project based on stories of refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers. His poetry appears widely in magazines, and he has two pamphlets published by Fair Acre Press, Road Kill and Through The Woods.  His one man play, The Life and Times of the Tat Man, is currently on tour, and he has recently finished a new commissioned play for Regional Voice Theatre, The Ballad of Rough Moey and the Darlaston Dog Fight, which he hopes will be touring from April 2016.







53 thoughts on “About

  1. Lloyd Pugh says:

    Hey David, for some reason facebook is being weird. So I’ll post the questions on here. I was just going to ask where did the idea of Sangomo come from? Why did you include him in the play? And why did he have no lines. And was wondering about your thoughts of the play, i know its your play, but yeah and about our performance and how i played Sangomo?

    • Hello Lloyd

      In Zulu tradition, a Sangoma is the equivalent to a shaman, an important character who has many functions, among them healer, spirit-guide, narrator of tales, keeper of history, and someone who oversees the rituals of death. So, I think you’ll probably be able to see now the importance of that character to the play. The role is quite central, in fact. The reason for keeping him silent is that it serves to separate him from the other characters in the play, as he is both there and not there, so to speak. Although he does speak through his drum, which summons the stories that the characters tell. So, in a sense, his voice is the most eloquent of them all. The drum, too, is the tradition instrument of the shaman. All the best, David

  2. shinka says:

    did you write the terrible fate of humpty dumpty

  3. Su Oliver says:

    Hello David, How on earth does one get started in translating a dark humorous diarised event into a play? Do you have any tips? who would I solicit to show my initial work to?
    P.S. It is great to know you are from my home town

    • Hello Su

      Sorry I haven’t been able to reply to this comment earlier. Your questions are Big Questions, which need more space and time than this brief place allows. I’d also need to know more about your proposed work. Maybe you can email me on davidcalcutt@gmail.com.

      Wednesbury is a great home town to come from.

      All the best


  4. […] David Calcutt is author of Crowboy, Shadow Bringer and The Map of Marvels: Oxford University Press  and Robin Hood: Barefoot Books.  Find out more here: https://davidcalcutt.com/about/ […]

  5. […] David Calcutt is the author of Crowboy, Shadow Bringer and The Map of Marvels: Oxford University Press, and Robin Hood: Barefoot Books https://davidcalcutt.com/about/ […]

  6. Freya H says:

    Hey David, I love your works! Just a question, seeing as you wrote a monologue on it, how do you pronounce beowulf? I have heard many different interpretations but I would like to know how you do it as you have written a monologue based on it.

  7. […] David Calcutt is Writer in Residence at Caldmore Community Garden.  And author of Crowboy, Shadow Bringer and The Map of Marvels: Oxford University Press, and Robin Hood: Barefoot Books https://davidcalcutt.com/about/ […]

  8. Emma Southall says:

    Hi David,
    After reading / studying the terrible fate of humpty dumpty, I’d love to know where the inspiration for this book came from? It’s a very deep and complicated story and one which i’ve really enjoyed reading.

    • Hello Liam
      Thank you very much for writing to let me know that you liked the play. I do appreciate it. The idea for the play began when I was working with a youth theatre, exploring the theme of bullying. I came across an item in a newspaper about the death of a boy and we decided to make that the central drama of our play. I was interested in examining not just how the boy’s death but why, looking at the all the varied factors and events that led up to his death, some of them intentional, some accidental. So then I made the decision to place the boy’s death at the start of the play, and tell the story backwards, a little bit like a detective story. I do think that often the reasons tragic things happen are many and complicated, and I wanted the play to reflect this as well.

      I do hope that answers some of your questions. Once again, thank you for letting me know you enjoyed the play. It was good to hear from you.
      Very best wishes

  9. Megan says:

    Hi, I was wondering what the social and historical implications of your play ‘Detention’ are. It would be extremely helpful if you could reply. 🙂

    • Hello Megan
      That’s a difficult and complex question to give a brief answer to. It sounds like a test or exam question to me, and probably demands a longer response than I can give it here. I’d have to give it some thought, especially as I wrote the play over thirty years ago and I don’t think I’ve looked at it much since then. You probably know it better than I do.

  10. Megan says:

    Hi, I was wondering what the social and historical implications of your play ‘Detention’ are. It would be extremely helpful if you could reply 🙂

  11. Jessica says:

    Are there any auditions for any of your plays any time soon because I love your work and, therefore, would love to attend an audition if any were taking place.

    • Hello Jessica. Not at the moment, although we are about to put in a grant application to stage a new play of mine next year. If we’re successful we’ll be advertising for auditions for the cast in the autumn, so look out for that. We will be looking for West Midlands actors who can do an authentic Black Country accent. Very best wishes, David.

      • Jessica says:

        Thank you very much. I am a Midlands actor and so I will definitely look out for that.

  12. Mary Pearson says:

    Hi David
    I run a Youth Drama group , every year we enter the Southern Counties Drama Festival held at the Barm a Theatre Oxted it is part of the All England one act play festival.
    This year I would like to do The terrible Fate. Of Humpty Dumpty,
    If we are OK to do this I would need to change the gender of some of the characters as allthough we have a number of boys some of our girls are better placed to take some Rolex , would this be a problem

    • Hello Mary. Thanks for getting in touch. I’m delighted you’ll be producing my play. Changing gender roles isn’t at all a problem. Very best wishes for the production. David

  13. Chloe Baldwin says:

    Hi. In the play The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty, I have been asked to answer the following questions. Please help, thanks, Chloe

    How old was he when he wrote the play?
    – What influenced him to write the play?
    – Where is the play set?
    – When is it set?
    – When was it first performed?

  14. Mary Pearson says:

    Can you tell me who I apply to for a licence to perform the play in a competition thanks

  15. Mary Pearson says:


  16. Malakai Frank says:

    i need to do a biography on you. Help me

  17. Malakai Frank says:

    I had to write an essay / biography on the life/times of David Calcutt

  18. David Scholl says:

    I am directing your version of “Dracula” at Central Catholic High School in Canton, Ohio this May. I love the script and the writing, but am trying to make it a bit more “action” for a contemporary audience. We are deep into rehearsal but would love any general ideas you had about characters and staging (I fully realize the grandeur of generic this holds.) I have chosen to show many monologues with voice over (Lucy’s death). also using a projector to show clips such as the ship wreck and set, as the theater is a black box.
    Mostly just wanted you to know we are performing the show and the admiration I have for the adaptation.

    • Hello David

      Thank you for taking the trouble to get in touch and let me know. It’s always really gratifying to find out when a production is happening – and I’m especially pleased that this is happening in the USA. And thank you for saying how much you like the script. It’s been a while since I read through the play – and even longer since I wrote it – but I did see a production here in the UK a few years ago that that worked very well. I like very much the idea of using voice over for the monologues and the use of projector clips. With much more of our drama coming through film rather than theatre these days, I would say that use of film-technique in theatre is a good idea, or trying to find the theatrical equivalent of film technique in a theatrical production. The play, like the book it’s adapted from, apart from other things, is meant to create an atmosphere of tension and fear, and that means drawing the audience into the performance, so that they feel part of it, trapped by it, even, unable to escape the strange things that are happening, a bit like not being able to wake from a bad dream. So, in direction and staging, anything that can be done to create that feeling. I think I wrote this play, as I do with all my work, without the use of naturalistic set so that, as with Shakespeare, action can quickly shift from one scene to another, simply by characters walking on and offstage – keeping the action moving, not giving the audience any respite. Use of good sound effects too, perhaps music, to create powerful sound-pictures. As far as character goes, the focus is mainly on Mina and Dracula – how he’s drawn to her, in spite of himself – and how a part of her is drawn to him and his world of the undead. It’s that knowledge that there’s a part of her that is attracted by his world, even longs to be in his world, that helps gives her the power to defeat him. And there’s a part of him that wants to be defeated. That’s what was in my mind when writing the adaptation anyway.

      I hope I haven’t gone on too much and that some of this might of some help.

      My very best wishes to you for this production, and please pass them on to your cast and crew as well. And do keep in touch and let me know how the performances go.

      Anything else you want to ask, don’t hesitate.

      Thanks again for writing.

  19. Hello David – I am so pleased to have found your work, especially The Otherworld Child. I hear that you based it on a traditional story, but haven’t been able to find it. Could you possibly let me know the source/s? Gratefully, and looking forward to reading/ seeing more of your work, Dawn

    • Hello Dawn. Thank you for your message. I’m pleased you like The Otherworld Child. It’s a favourite of mine. To answer your question, it wasn’t based on a single folktale as such, but a number of different traditions concerning foundlings and changeling children, which I drew on to create the story, so I’m afraid I can’t point you in the direction of a single source. At the time I was also working as a storyteller, and, when I became interested in a particular theme, I’d patch together elements from a number of stories to create something new, which was the case with this play. The same is true of another play I wrote around the same time which was also broadcast on the BBC, “The Daughter of the Sea”. A lot of changeling stories, from these islands at least, tend to be Celtic, so I probably took the material from some of those, and transposed them to a Black Country setting, which is the area I come from. I think this is how most stories come about, elements from one slipping into another. It’s what gives folktales their particular dynamism and sense of timelessness. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, or ask, or exchange views on, please don’t hesitate to get in touch again. And I wish you all the very best for your own storytelling work – it looks very impressive. David.

      • Thank you! For getting back to me so quickly.
        I was asking partly because the story really captivated me and I would love to be able to tell it orally… I wanted the original source so that I didn’t use your work. However, since it IS all your work I wonder if I may have permission to tell it – giving you as the source of course. I tell Wild Twin stories frequently and am fascinated by this aspect of certain stories (Tatterhood, The Lindworm etc). The Wild that can be harnessed to complete us, or that takes revenge if it is banished – and then needs to be courted and integrated again. I also run occasional weekends called ‘The Call of the Wild Twin’ – so you see it really has me hooked!
        With best regards, Dawn

      • Hello Dawn. Of course you’re more than welcome to tell the story. It’s good to know you’d like to use it. Coincidentally, I’m working with a two other people on putting a storytelling show together here in the Midlands, and we’re using a version of that same story in the piece. Strange how these things suddenly gain a life again. I’m intrigued by that whole Wild Twin idea you’re working with. It’s a theme that persists with me in a lot of my work – that dark or wild side of a natures that must be acknowledged and integrated at the risk of it wreaking havoc on us. I think almost everything I’ve written is a version of that. It would be fascinating to know how it goes when you work with it. Do let me know, if you don’t mind. Thank you for getting in touch, and feeling moved enough to want to use the story. It’s extremely gratifying. Very best wishes to you, David.

  20. gianna says:

    Hello David Calcutt, I have a few questions for your story that you wrote ‘The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty’. Why did you write this story? What inspired you to write this story? Why didn’t you write a more happy story than about bullying?

  21. Oliver says:

    Hello David,
    I am a drama teacher who would love to direct and have performed your very fine dramatization of ‘Beowulf’. My Nelson Thornes dramascript copy of your play does not make it clear about how I may apply for performing rights. Please advise how I may apply for performing rights?…Oliver Godfrey

    • Hello Oliver. Thank you for contacting me about this. Nelson Thornes Dramascripts are now owned by Oxford University Press, so you need to apply to OUP for performing rights for Beowulf. Do let me know how you get on with that, and if you manage to get production going. Thank you again for getting in touch. By the way, a more direct way of getting in touch with me is via my email address, which is davidcalcutt@gmail.com Very best wishes, David Calcutt

  22. Tane Davis says:

    Hi David,

    I’ve been trying for the last two months to contact OUP to apply for the rights to perform The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty at my local amateur community theatre group here in New Zealand in 2019 but I have had no reply from any of the two or three email addresses that I have reached out to.

    I was wondering if there were anything that you could do to help??

    • Hi Tane,

      I’m sorry about this, on OUP’s behalf. From other similar enquiries I’ve had about this, and contact with the rights department myself, it’s my understanding that they are just slow in responding, which is really annoying. They do get back in touch eventually, but can take a very long time – which of course you know! Maybe try emailing them again, mark it urgent. If you’d like me to email them too, and try and hurry them along, I’m happy to do that. Just let me know. And if there’s any other way you think I can help, do get in touch. Obviously we’re both keen for you to be able to stage a production of my play. If you’d like to email me in future, my email address is: davidcalcutt@gmail.com.

      Do keep in touch.

      Very best wishes

  23. Nicci says:

    I was wondering whether the play ‘The terrible fate of humpty dumpty was based on a true story?
    Kind regards.

    • Hi Nicci. Most of the play was devised through workshops with a youth theater so that most of the scenes were created in this way. But the actual way in which Terry dies – electrocuted on a pylon – I did take from a report in a local newspaper. I hope that helps to answer your question. Thank you very much for getting in touch. Best wishes, David

      • Nicci says:

        Lovely, thank you for the quick response.
        That’s great. I am a Drama teacher and do quite a bit of Theatre in Education. I am planning on delivering a SOW next year on the play – so it’s great to have a bit of background knowledge to help place in context. Do you know what year the newspaper report was in?

      • It’s a pleasure to help, Nicci. We started working on the devising process in 1984 so I guess I’d have read the report around then. Long time ago!

        Good luck with the delivery. If there’s anything else you need to know – and that I can recall from those distant days – do let me know.

        So the very best

  24. inaam says:

    umm do you know what the themes on troy 24 are

  25. Hello David,

    I am wondering if you might be able to grant us permission to perform an extract from your play Fall, (from the Wake cycle), in a radio drama. If permission were granted, then it would be included in a radio drama which will be broadcast on Soundart Radio as part of this series of new audio drama works: https://www.soundartradio.org.uk/services/tomorrows-transmissions/2021-2/

    My co-writer and co-performer in this project is Nina Karacosta. We first worked on Fall in 1994 in a performance directed by Jon Trevor at Birmingham School of Speech and Drama.

    Thank you,

    Catherine Guy

    • Hi Catherine. Yes that’s fine by me. I’m interested and intrigued. I’m a great lover of radio drama and support any new initiative like yours. Good to have a Jon Trevor link too. Do let me know when the production goes out. Do get in touch by email – davidcalcutt@gmail.com

      All the very best


  26. Rebecca Williams says:

    Hi David, my youth theatre are just getting re-started after a long (and interesting!) year of Zoom. We are looking at scripts to challenge our oldest who will be leaving us at the end of the term and absolutely love your Dramascripts interpretation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – the Damned of the City present the perfect chorus for giving everybody a ‘meaty’ part. Could you pelase point me in the right direction for performing rights? Thank you!

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