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Born in London on September 3 1938 Caryl Churchill grew up in England and Canada In 1960 she received a BA in English from Oxford University where she wrote three plays Downstairs Youve No Need to be Frightened and Having a Wonderful Time After graduation she began to write radio plays for the BBC including The Ants 1962 Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen 1971 and Schrebers Nervous Illness 1972 This genre forced Churchill to develop a certain economy of style which would serve her well in her later work for the stage but it also freed her from the limitations of the stage allowing for example the freedom to write very short scenes or make great leaps in time and spaceIn 1974 Churchill began her transition to the stage serving as resident dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre from 1974-75 During the 1970s and 1980s she also collaborated with theatre companies such as Joint Stock and Monstrous Regiment both of which utilized an extended workshop period in their development of new plays and both of which are generally considered to have had a deep impact on Churchills development as a playwright She would later write This was a new way of working I felt stimulated by the discovery of shared ideas and the enormous energy and feeling of possibilities While working with Joint Stock and Monstrous Regiment Churchill wrote a number of successful plays including Light Shining on Buckinghamshire 1976 Vinegar Tom 1976 Cloud Nine 1979 and A Mouthful of Birds 1986Even after striking out on her own Churchill continued to utilize an improvisational workshop setting in the development of some of her plays Mad Forest A Play from Romania 1990 was written after Churchill the director and a group of student actors from Londons Central School went to Romania to work with acting students there and find out more about the events surrounding the fall of Ceausescu What finally emerged from this
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