Papers of Anthony Minghella, relating to his work for the stage



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Anthony Minghella was a playwright, screenwriter and film director, working on stage, radio and screen. Born January 6th 1954 on the Isle of Wight to ice cream factory owners Gloria and Edward Minghella, he attended Sandown Grammar School and St. John's, Portsmouth.

He studied Drama at the University of Hull, graduating with a first class degree in Drama and went on to become a lecturer in the Department, staying at the University for ten years in total. He studied for (but later abandoned) a doctoral thesis on Samuel Beckett, whose writing was a major influence on his work. Whilst at Hull in 1975 he produced his first play, a stage adaptation of Gabriel Josipovici's story Mobius the Stripper performed at the university, followed by a performance of Child's Play in 1978, It was with Whale Music that he made his first impression on the theatre industry. Made in Bangkok marked Minghella's West-End debut in 1986. His first radio play Hang Up was first broadcast in 1987, and revived on 10 May 2008 as part of the BBC Radio 4 Minghella season. The London Theatre Critics voted him Most Promising Playwright in 1984 and gave him a Best New Play award for 'Made in Bangkok' in 1986. His BBC radio play Hang Up won the Prix Italia in 1988 and 'Cigarettes and Chocolate' won the 1989 Giles Cooper Award and 1989 Sony Award. This play was also revived for the stage in the late nineties where it received positive reviews from performances in Vienna and Berlin.

Minghella's career in television began during the 1980s as a runner on 'Magpie' followed by a job as a script editor on the children's television programme 'Grange Hill.'. He then went on to write scripts for 'Inspector Morse', 'Storyteller' and 'Living with Dinosaurs'. One of his last projects was a television adaptation of 'The No1 Ladies' Detective Agency', which he co-wrote and directed, and which was broadcast after his death, in March 2008.

Minghella's first feature film, A Little Like Drowning was filmed on the Isle of Wight in 1977 and the story was later performed as a play in the 1980s. Truly Madly Deeply, originally written for the BBC, went on to cinema release and received a BAFTA award. His adaptation of The English Patient, for which he both directed and wrote the screenplay, won nine Academy Awards including best director, and The Talented Mr Ripley was nominated for five Academy Awards and won eight others. Minghella was executive producer on The Quiet American and The Interpreter, and he also appeared in the 2007 film Atonement.

Minghella made his operatic debut directing Puccini's Madama Butterfly for the English National Opera in 2005. This critically acclaimed version, which won a Laurence Olivier Award, was also performed at the Lithuanian National Opera and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2006.

Minghella was Chairman of the British Film Institute from 2003-2007 was awarded an honorary DLitt by the University of Hull in 1997and was given a CBE in 2001.

Minghella died suddenly on 18th March 2008, aged 54 leaving behind his wife, Hong Kong-born choreographer Carolyn Choa, a son, Max, and a daughter, Hannah. The Anthony Minghella Theatre at the Quay Arts Centre on the Isle of Wight is named in his honour.

Papers of Anthony Minghella, relating to his works for stage and radio, including workbooks, scripts, articles, reviews and press cuttings, as well as advertising and programmes. Of the six boxes, four relate to Minghella's production of Madama Butterfly.