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Kenneth Peacock Tynan

(1927-1980), Writer and critic

Sitter in 19 portraits
Theatre critic. Born in Birmingham, the illegitimate son of a Midlands magnate, Tynan won a scholarship to Oxford from King Edward's School. He began his career with the Evening Standard. From 1954 to 1963 he wrote for the Observer, championing dramatists such as Osborne, Wesker, and Delaney, and the poetic drama of Eliot and Fry. He popularised Brecht and the Theatre of the Absurd in the work of Simpson and Beckett. A socialist and campaigner for nuclear disarmament, Tynan took on the Lord Chamberlain's Office in its role as theatre censor, notably with his revue Oh! Calcutta! (1969). He was the first literary manager of the National Theatre.

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