- (1958 - ) British playwright, director, and screenwriter. Born into a working-class family in Farnworth, near Manchester, Cartwright leftschool at 16 and trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. After a lengthy period of unemployment, he returned to his home townwhere he wrote his first play Road, about the inhabitants of an unnamed road (the name has fallen off the street sign) in a depressed town in the northof England. The play, which consists of a series of desperate, scabrous, and often wildly funny vignettes, was staged at the Royal Court Theatre in 1986 andagain in 1987 (latterly with rock singer Ian Dury in the role of the narrator).As well as proving a popular hit, Road won a series of awards; within 18 months productions had also been seen in Chicago and New York.
Cartwight's subsequent plays included the more abstract Bed (1989), which was produced at the Royal National Theatre, Two (1989), and the musical Eight Miles High (1991), which ran for over a year in Reykjavik.Music was also a key element in what would become Cartwright's best-known work,The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (1992), about a desperately shy, downtrodden girl with an astonishing ability to sing in the style of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, and other flamboyant divas. The play debuted at the National Theatre in a production by Sam Mendes and made a star of its lead, Jane Horrocks, who repeated her triumph in the film version (1998).
Cartwright's more recent plays include I Licked a Slag's Deodorant(1996), which he also directed, and the somewhat poorly reviewed Hard Fruit (2000). He has also written for TV and the cinema and in 2008 published his first novel, Supermarket Supermodel.