Biography

David Williamson’s first full-length play, The Coming of Stork, premiered at the La Mama Theatre, Carlton, in 1970 and later became the film Stork, directed by Tim Burstall.

The Removalists and Don’s Party followed in 1971, then Jugglers Three (1972), What If You Died Tomorrow? (1973), The Department (1975), A Handful of Friends (1976), The Club (1977) and Travelling North (1979).

In 1972 The Removalists won the Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Award for best stage play and the best script in any medium and the British production saw Williamson nominated most promising playwright by the London Evening Standard, and the play was a co winner of the coveted George Devine Award, the first time it had been given to a non U.K. writer. 

The 1980s saw his success continue with Celluloid Heroes (1980), The Perfectionist (1982), Sons of Cain (1985), Emerald City (1987) and Top Silk (1989); whilst the 1990s produced Siren (1990), Money and Friends (1991), Brilliant Lies (1993), Sanctuary (1994), Dead White Males (1995), Heretic (1996), Third World Blues (an adaptation of Jugglers Three) and After the Ball (both in 1997), and Corporate Vibes and Face to Face (both in 1999).

The Great Man (2000), Up for Grabs, A Conversation, Charitable Intent (all in 2001), Soulmates (2002), Birthrights (2003), Amigos (2004), Operator (2005) Influence (2006), Scarlett O’Hara at the Crimson Parrot, (2008), Let the Sunshine(2009),  Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica (2010),  Don Parties On, (2011),  At Any Cost (Co written with Mohamed Kahdra, 2011)  and Nothing Personal (2011),  When Dad Married Fury (2012) and Managing Carmen (2012), and Happiness and Rupert (2013). In 2014 Williamson had a record of eight plays professionally produced in Sydney alone.  They included the sellout season of Cruise Control at the Ensemble Theatre,  the successful revival of Travelling North at the Sydney Theatre Company, his Jack Manning Trilogy at the Concourse theatre,  Rupert, at the Theatre Royal,  and the revival of Emerald City  at the Stables Theatre.

In January 2015 his play Dream Home  premiered at the Ensemble Theatre Sydney and enjoyed a sellout season.  In January 2016 his new play Jack of Hearts will also open at the Ensemble.  It stars two of the Chaser team,  Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel.  He is currently working on a TV miniseries adaptation of his play Rupert,  for U.S. Television.

Williamson is widely recognised as Australia’s most successful playwright and over the last thirty years his plays have been performed throughout Australia and produced in Britain, United States, Canada and many European and Asian countries. His play Travelling North had a successful production in Vietnam and The Club ran for a year in Beijing, where its depiction of back room committee politicking obviously struck a chord with the locals.

A number of his stage works have been adapted for the screen, including The Removalists, Don’s Party, The Club. Travelling North. Emerald City, Sanctuary  and Brilliant Lies, and six of them have been made into quality Telemovies in Poland.

David Williamson has won the Australian Film Institute film script award five times, for Petersen (1974), Don’s Party (1976), Gallipoli (1981) Travelling North ( 1987) and Balibo (2009) and has won twelve Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Awards. He also wrote the screenplay for Pharlap (1981) , The Year of Living Dangerously, (1983) receiving a nomination for best screenplay from the Writer’s Guild of America. He wrote the screenplay for Showtime’s On the Beach which won the Australian AFI award for best miniseries and was nominated for the Golden Globe awards in the U.S. He also wrote the screenplay for the HBO miniseries A Dangerous Life, about the fall of the Marcos regime in the Philippines which made the critics top ten list of the year in both New York and Los Angeles.

Altogether he has written twelve screenplays and five miniseries, including The Four Minute Mile for the BBC and The Last Bastion about General McArthur’s arrival in Australia in WW 11, which was sold all over the world.  He lives on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast with his writer wife, Kristin Williamson.