King Charles III

November 5, 2016

January 15, 2017

at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

by Mike Bartlett
directed by Gary Griffin

About the Playwright

In July 2005, Bartlett took part in the Old Vic's "New Voices" 24 Hour Plays culminating in the performance of his play Comfort which had to be written and performed in 24 hours. 

His radio play Not Talking was broadcast by the BBC in 2007. The play looked at the issues surrounding conscientious objection in the UK during World War II and also at the problems of bullying within the armed forces and featured Richard Briers and June Whitfield.Bartlett won the 2006 Tinniswood Award for Not Talking and the 2006 Imison Award for a drama by a writer new to radio on 18 October 2007.

In May 2007, while he held the position of "writer in residence" at the Royal Court Theatre, his play My Child premiered there.

His play, Artefacts, was performed at The Bush Theatre in London in 2008 before a national tour, produced by new writing specialists Nabokov.

 Also in 2008 he adapted his radio play Love Contract for the Royal Court Theatre.

In 2009 Bartlett's play Cock premiered at the Royal Court. It won the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement In An Affiliate Theatre.

In the summer of 2010 Bartlett's work was staged for the first time at the National Theatre. Earthquakes in London, directed by Rupert Goold, was described by Michael Billington in The Guardian as an "epic, expansive play about climate change, corporate corruption, fathers and children". Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph called it "the theatrical equivalent of a thrilling roller coaster ride", delivering "a rush of invention, humour and raw emotion". In December 2010, Abingdon and St Helens schools performed the first ever amateur production of Bartlett's play Earthquakes in London, less than three months after it finished its run at the National Theatre. The schools were given special permission to put the play on, as Bartlett is a former pupil of Abingdon. He attended the last night as guest of honour.

Also in 2010, Bartlett's play Love, Love, Love was premiered in a touring production. In 2012 it has its London premiere at the Royal Court. Michael Coveney, writing for, called it "one of the most ambitious, and most accomplished, domestic dramas in a long while".

In 2011 Bartlett returned to the National Theatre, this time on its largest stage (the Olivier), with 13, another contemporary epic. In a favourable review in The Guardian, Michael Billington explained, "Bartlett is saying that we live in a Britain where the old tribal loyalties are increasingly irrelevant. The real divide is between a popular protest movement, fed on Facebook and Twitter, that hungers for a change of direction, and an entrenched governmental system that clings precariously to the status quo." Ian Shuttleworth of the Financial Times noted that this was a play in which "sprawl wins out": "Both here and in Earthquakes Bartlett is groping towards some sense of a need to reconcile the worldly and the numinous. In this society, in the 21st century, that may be an admirable impulse for an individual, but in this case it is not proving a useful approach for a playwright."

In 2012 Bartlett adapted Chariots of Fire for the stage. It premiered at Hampstead Theatre before transferring to the West End. He also adapted the Euripides play Medea, in a touring production he directed himself; it starred Rachael Stirling in the title role.

Later in 2012, ITV1 premiered the crime drama The Town starring Andrew Scott (Sherlock) and Martin Clunes. Bartlett was subsequently nominated for a BAFTA award for best "Breakthrough Talent" in the TV Craft category in the 2013 awards in relation to The Town.

In October 2013 Bartlett won Best New Play at The National Theatre Awards for his play Bull, beating plays from both Alan Ayckbourn and Tom Wells.In April 2015 Bartlett's plays were awarded two additional Olivier Awards, his play King Charles III won Best New Play, and his play Bull, directed by Clare Lizzimore and produced by Supporting Wall at the Young Vic Theatre, won Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre.

In 2014 his play King Charles III premiered at the Almeida. It subsequently transferred to Wyndham's Theatre and in January 2015 won the Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of 2014.In April 2015 Bartlett's plays were awarded two additional Olivier Awards, his play King Charles III won Best New Play, and his play Bull, directed by Clare Lizzimore and produced by Supporting Wall at the Young Vic Theatre, won Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre.

In March 2015 his play Game premiered at the Almeida Theatre in London, England.

Barlett's five-part television drama series Doctor Foster was broadcast in September and October 2015. The series achieved an average of 9.51 million viewers, and was one of the most viewed television drama series of the year. In addition to being a critical success, the drama won two awards at the 2016 National Television Awards in the categories of Best New Drama and Drama Performance for Suranne Jones. It's been announced that there will be second season that will begin filming in September 2016.

In December 2015, Polly Hill, the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, announced a six 60-minute episode television series entitled Press that had been written by Bartlett. Commenting about the series, Bartlett said “From exposing political corruption to splashing on celebrity scandal, editors and journalists have enormous influence over us, yet recent events have shown there’s high-stakes and life-changing drama going on in the news organisations themselves. I’m hugely excited to be working with the BBC to make Press, a behind-the-scenes story about a group of diverse and troubled people who shape the stories and headlines we read every day.”

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