Joe Orton was an English playwright and author. His public career was short but prolific, lasting from 1964 until his death three years later. During this brief period he shocked, outraged, and amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies.

His first play to be staged, Entertaining Mr Sloane, won the London Critics’ ‘Variety’ Award as the best play of 1964. Loot, his second play to be staged, won the Evening Standard Drama Award for the best play of 1966. The Ruffian on the Stair and The Erpingham Camp were performed as a double bill at the Royal Court Theatre in June 1967 under the title Crimes of Passion. His television plays, The Good and Faithful Servant and Funeral Games, were shown in 1967 and 1968. What the Butler Saw, his last play, was staged in 1969, and won a 1970 ‘Obie’ Award for the best off-Broadway foreign play in New York.

Both Entertaining Mr Sloane and Loot have been filmed. Orton also wrote a screenplay for the Beatles which was never filmed, but was subsequently published as Up Against It. The novels, Head to Toe, Between Us Girls, The Boy Hairdresser and Lord Cucumber, and the play Fred & Madge were published posthumously.

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