David William Halliwell (31 July 1936, Brighouse, Yorkshire – c.16 March 2006, Charlbury, Oxfordshire) was a British dramatist.
Halliwell attended Huddersfield College of Art (1953–59) as an art student, but was expelled for a time from the institution, and later switched to acting at RADA. In the early 1960s he worked as an actor in rep and was a stage manager at the Nottingham Playhouse for a time.
His experiences at the Huddersfield College were the basis for his earliest produced and best remembered play, Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs. In this play Malcolm Scrawdyke, a Hitlerite figure, plots revenge against authority for his college expulsion by forming the Party of Dynamic Erection with his three acolytes. "The Nazis made a big impression on people of my age", Halliwell recalled. "They almost destroyed Europe. But as well as being pretty threatening they were also seen as a laughing stock even during the war." The play won Halliwell the Evening Standard's Most Promising Playwright Award in 1967.
Malcolm's premier production at the Unity Theatre in 1965 was directed by Mike Leigh with Halliwell himself in the central role of Malcolm. John Hurt featured as the character in a slightly later West End production and the feature film version (Little Malcolm, 1974). A successful revival in 1999 starred Ewan McGregor.
In 1968 Halliwell jointly set up a company named Quipu which performed at various London theatres until 1973. Its stated aim reflected the radical politics of the time: "a new kind of organisation in which the means of production are owned, controlled and developed by the artists whose work is being produced". Quipu, "the first lunchtime theatre club in London", allowed the tryout of short plays. His later stage plays include Who's Who of Flapland (1967) and K.D. Dufford (1969).
Halliwell researched the professional relationship of Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, both involved in the discovery of DNA, in the 1980s, but his work was not completed, although the recordings of people he interviewed have been preserved.
- Alan Strachan & Janet Street Porter Obituary: David Halliwell, The Independent, 5 April 2006
- Obituary: David Halliwell, The Times, 21 March 2006
- Patrick Newley Obituary: David Halliwell", The Stage, 12 April 2006
- Michael Billington & Mike Leigh Obituary: David Halliwell, The Guardian, 22 March 2006
- "McGregor play opens in West End", BBC News, 22 January 1999
- John Elsom Post-war British Theatre, London: Routledtge, 1976, p.158
- Dan Rebellato "Halliwell, David [William]", in Colin Chambers The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre, London: Continuum, 2002 , p.338
- DNA King's College, London
- David Halliwell at the Internet Movie Database
- David Halliwell at the Doollee.com - The Playwrights website
- "David Halliwell Biography (1936-)", Film Reference website
- David Halliwell correspondence at Senate House Library, University of London
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