A playwright, teacher and Guild activist, Tony Craze has died at the age of 72.
I knew him for many years when he was a stalwart member of the Theatre Writers’ Union – a voice of sense and reason on occasions when the union needed both. It was no surprise when, after the union amalgamated with the Writers’ Guild, Tony joined the Guild Theatre Committee.
Tony was a lively, sincere and committed voice on that committee for many years under chairs Olwen Wymark and David James, working closely with both, and the committee was very sad to lose his insight and input when he moved to France.
In addition to his plays, he will be remembered for his contribution to writer training (a subject very close to my heart). As the first winner of the Verity Bargate award (with his play Shona), he inaugurated one of the most important theatre writing awards, and as artistic director of the Soho, he started the first theatre-based training programme.
Through his work at the Soho and at the Arts Council, his teaching and his playwriting book – with its engaging title Write a Theatre Script in 25 Days (& 10 hours) – he made a major contribution to the growth of writer development in Britain, and thus to the stunning increase in new plays in the British theatre repertoire. His good sense and dry wit made him a most agreeable colleague and companion.
Apart from Shona, his plays include Angelus, Passion, A Wake for Miss Montreal and Squint. He also wrote a guide to memoir-writing (Make a Mosaic of your Memoirs) and a number of novels, including the trilogy The Urchin’s Progress.
Tony lived for the last eight years in France, but there is a London memorial being planned. Tony made a great contribution to theatre writing, not just by his work, but by his commitment to writers, and their union.