Plays by David Edgar

Arthur & George

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar's Arthur & George is a stage play based on Julian Barnes’ Booker Prize-nominated novel of the same name (first published in 2005), itself based on a real-life case in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes) found himself playing detective. The play takes the form of a detective thriller that raises questions about guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race. It was first performed at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 19 March 2010 in a coproduction with Nottingham Playhouse.

In 1903, Birmingham solicitor George Edalji was found guilty of a series of brutal attacks on farm animals, known as the Great Wyrley Outrages. He was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with hard labour. Desperate to prove his innocence, he recruited Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world famous detective Sherlock Holmes, to help solve his mysterious case and win him a pardon.

Edgar restructures Barnes's story. He starts with a meeting between Conan Doyle and Edalji that took place after the latter's prison sentence had been commuted, although his conviction remained intact. Through flashbacks, we learn the details of the case: how Edalji, his Parsee-born vicar father and his Scottish mother had been subjected to a campaign of sustained intimidation. We also learn how the sober, industrious Edalji had been accused of being part of the Great Wyrley gang that brutalised local cattle, and of being the source of the poison-pen letters to his own family. Conan Doyle determines to clear Edalji's name and, assuming the mantle of Sherlock Holmes, uncover the true culprits.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre production was directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and designed by Ruari Murchison, with Adrian Lukis as Arthur and Chris Nayak as George. Other members of the cast were Richard Attlee, William Beck, Simon Coates, Daniel Crowder, Kirsty Hoiles and Anneika Rose.

The production subsequently transferred to Nottingham Playhouse, with performances there from 22 April 2010.

Daughters of the Revolution

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar's Daughters of the Revolution is one part of a two-play cycle under the collective title Continental Divide, set against the background of a bitterly fought American governor’s election in an unspecified Pacific-coast state. Daughters of the Revolution centres on characters in the Democrat camp, while the other part, Mothers Against, examines the election from the Republican perspective.

Across the two plays, Edgar explores what has happened to the revolutionary fervour that took hold of both the Right and the Left in the 1960s, and how it has been carried over into the politics of the twenty-first century.

Both plays were jointly commissioned and produced by Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Daughters of the Revolution was first performed in the Angus Bowmer Theatre, Ashland, Oregon, as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on 1 March 2003 before transferring to Berkeley Repertory Theatre, with performances from 6 November 2003.

Daughters of the Revolution is an expansive epic theatre play about the diaspora of 1960s student radicals. Michael Bern is a Community College professor about to land a big promotion due to his connections with the Democratic candidate for governor, Rebecca McKeene. As a birthday present his partner, Abby, has tracked down his old FBI file relating to his days as a political activist in the 1970s. This leads him on a mission to find the informer who betrayed his revolutionary cell in 1972. Along the way he meets an ex-Black Panther, an old Marxist turned fervent right-winger, and discovers that his old friend Rebecca may have a dirty little political secret of her own.

The premiere at Oregon Shakespeare Festival was directed by Tony Taccone and designed by William Bloodgood, with a cast including Terry Layman as Michael Bern.

The play received its UK premiere at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 6 March 2004, with the original American cast directed by Tony Taccone. It subsequently played at the Barbican, London, as part of their BITE Festival, with performances from 20 March 2004.

Destiny

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

First produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place in Stratford in September 1976, Destiny transferred to the Aldwych Theatre, London in May 1977 where it received exceptionally high praise from a wide range of critics. The production established David Edgar as a major playwright, one of the most important of the young generation of dramatists to emerge out of the 'portable' theatre movement of the late sixties.

1947. The twilight of Empire in India. Sergeant Turner and his Colonel share a bottle of whisky in reluctant celebration of Independence. 'Do you think Mr Churchill will do anything about it, sir? When the conservatives get back in?'

1976. A bye-election in the West Midlands against the background of an industrial dispute involving Asian labour. A three-cornered fight between Labour, Conservative (candidate: the Colonel's nephew) and the up and coming National Forward party (candidate: Sergeant, now Mr. Turner) – a contest in which the issue of race cuts like a razor through the conventional cosy assumption of British politics, with alarming and prophetic results.

It is impossible to read David Edgar's play without feeling provoked into re-examining one's own political sentiments. Impossible also not to admire the skill with which he has woven so many strands into an authentic, gripping and theatrically effective play of impressive scope and power.

If Only

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar’s If Only is a political drama set around the 2010 UK General Election and its possible consequences for policymaking. It was first performed at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester, on 20 June 2013 (previews from 14 June).

The play's first act is set in the spring of 2010, before the General Election that took place on 6 May. The day after the UK’s first ever televised prime ministerial debate, a Labour special adviser (Sam Hunt), a Liberal Democrat staffer (Jo Lambert) and a Tory candidate (Peter Greatorex) are stranded in Malaga airport by a volcanic ash cloud. As they wait for their transport home, they consider their options in the event of a hung parliament.

The second act takes place in a church near Mons in Belgium during the summer of 2014 (hence in the future at the time the play was written and premiered). The three politicians meet again during commemorations for the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. In Britain, the right-wing UKIP (UK Independence Party) is rising and Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to shore up his threatened position by co-opting his rivals' policies on immigration and welfare. But one of the three politicians knows something that could change the outcome of the 2015 election, and a series of complex political manoeuvres ensues as each of them seeks to outwit the others.

The Chichester premiere was directed by Angus Jackson and designed by Ruth Sutcliffe. The cast was Jamie Glover, Martin Hutson, Charlotte Lucas and Eve Ponsonby.

The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

When Albie Sachs walks into his chambers one morning, he feels a hand on his shoulder and soon finds himself surrounded by men in suits. Arrested and imprisoned without trial for speaking out against apartheid law, the young lawyer is held in solitary confinement in a concrete cell without a bunk or a chair, and only the Bible to read. Albie’s refusal to answer the special officers’ questions ensures his continued detainment, as he struggles to retain his convictions, and his sanity, alone in jail.

Based on the real-life figure of Albie Sachs, a South African lawyer, and drawing heavily on his diaries which detail his experience of apartheid in South Africa in the 1960s, this adaptation by David Edgar explores the endurance of the individual against loneliness, oppression and a justice system that is threatened by a growing movement towards emancipation.

The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs was first presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Warehouse Theatre, London, in June 1978.

Mary Barnes

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In 1965, Mary Barnes arrives at Kingsley Hall, the first resident of an alternative treatment centre for mental illness founded by the controversial psychotherapist, R. D. Laing. Having undergone shock therapy and insulin injections for her schizophrenia with little result, it seems unlikely that Mary will ever leave institutional care.

But her life changes when she meets Joseph Berke, her therapist. Encouraged to regress to a childlike state, Mary discovers a way through her madness with the paints and crayons given to her by Berke, creating the fantastic canvasses and drawings which would later bring her fame as an artist.

David Edgar’s play is adapted from Mary Barnes: Two Accounts of a Journey Through Madness, written by Mary Barnes and Joseph Berke. Edgar worked closely with both authors during the writing of this uniquely personal piece which challenges traditional assumptions about the reality of living with and treating mental illness.

Mary Barnes received its world premiere in August 1978 at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Studio, before transferring to the Royal Court Theatre, London.

Maydays

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

David Edgar's monumental Maydays dissects the saga of post-war political awakenings, as the many dedicated devotees of the ideals of communism become disillusioned, and dissent. In a play that spans five decades, we see socialists of various dedication and origin – from the apparatchik of the Soviet Union down to the radical university lecturer – each finding that the distance between their conscience and their comrades has become too great to traverse.

Written in the early eighties, Maydays was first presented against a backdrop of many prominent members of the Left abdicating and turning Tory. Edgar writes in his introduction that for Maydays, the "starting point was the insight that the unique thing about the conservative revival of the late seventies was that it was led largely by defectors from the left".

Described by the author as being "about as grand a narrative play as it's possible to be this side of Tamburlaine the Great", Maydays offers a rise-and-fall look at the ideals of communism, and its supporters, from the popular post-war rise of the 40s to the stagnant and jargon-laden demise of the 80s.

Maydays premiered at the Barbican, London, in 1983, in a production by the RSC.

Mothers Against

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar's Mothers Against is one part of a two-play cycle under the collective title Continental Divide, set against the background of a bitterly fought American governor’s election in an unspecified Pacific-coast state. Mothers Against examines the Republican campaign, while the other part, Daughters of the Revolution, looks at the same election from the Democrat perspective.

Across the two plays, Edgar explores what has happened to the revolutionary fervour that took hold of both the Right and the Left in the 1960s, and how it has been carried over into the politics of the twenty-first century.

Both plays were jointly commissioned and produced by Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Mothers Against was first performed in The New Theatre, Ashland, Oregon, as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on 1 March 2003 before transferring to Berkeley Repertory Theatre, with performances from 6 November 2003.

Mothers Against takes the form of an intense chamber play as Republican candidate Sheldon Vine prepares at home for a vital televised debate in a gubernatorial race once thought a lost cause for the Republicans, but which is turning into a contest that is too close to call. Ironically, fiscal conservative Sheldon Vine's jump in the polls arises from voter ignorance of his true, relatively liberal position on two interconnected hot-button issues: the shooting of an eco-terrorist by a Latino security guard and 'Proposition 92'. The latter is a loyalty oath that would make it illegal for registered voters to support a group that pursues its ends through force. However, securing the necessary votes to win the election exposes ideological rifts in the campaign team. His handlers struggle to position the candidate on these matters while maintaining his approval ratings, trying as much as they can not to betray the candidate's beliefs. Edgar injects dynastic struggles into this mix as Sheldon's campaign manager and older brother, Mitchell, is resentful of being passed over for the candidacy because of his seeming mismanagement of the family fortune, while Sheldon's daughter, Deborah, may know more than she reveals about the slain eco-terrorist.

The premiere at Oregon Shakespeare Festival was directed by Tony Taccone and designed by William Bloodgood, with a cast including Bill Geisslinger as Sheldon Vine.

The play received its UK premiere at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 6 March 2004, with the original American cast directed by Tony Taccone. It subsequently played at the Barbican, London, as part of their BITE Festival, with performances from 20 March 2004.

O Fair Jerusalem

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It’s 1348 and the Black Death is raging throughout England. Fed up with feudal society, William leaves home to earn his living as a free man and is received into a company of players and tricksters. For these men, the plague offers many lucrative opportunities, from acting as the servants of crusading knights whose men-in-waiting have fled to looting from the dead.

It’s also 1948 in David Edgar’s metatheatrical play about humanity’s response to pandemic suffering. A group of actors are rehearsing a morality play about the plague in a bombed-out church. As they assume their parts and death masks, they are transformed into the motley community living six hundred years previously.

Moving between these two ages of pestilence and war, Edgar unifies these two societies struggling with religious and scientific authorities and disillusioned with the idea of a glorious war.

O Fair Jerusalem received its world premiere in May 1975 at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Studio.

Our Own People

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A workers' strike in a weaving factory leads to a standoff with management. However, what would have once been a straightforward class-struggle is complicated by the fact that the Asian workers have a different set of grievances to the Whites. Strikes are called, denied, deemed official or otherwise, and all the while the people at the lowest economic rung are fighting each other for the scraps handed down from above. Added to this the expected redundancies for all female staff, and what emerges is a complex system of oppression, whose particularities are investigated in a Court of Inquiry brought by the Department of Employment

Edgar writes that Our Own People concerns the breakdown in logic that happens when "people originally committed to the idea that the only division that matters is class are forced to come to terms with the notion that there are other divisions between people as deep and perhaps even more painful".

Based on a fictional conflation of many different real-life strikes and disputes, and with echoes of Hauptmann's The Weavers, Our Own People was first performed at the Half Moon Theatre in 1977.

Copyright © 1987 by David Edgar

Pentecost

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar’s play Pentecost is part of his trilogy of post-Cold War plays, together with The Shape of the Table (1990) and The Prisoner’s Dilemma (2001). It was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 12 October 1994.

The play is set in a church in an unnamed eastern European state not long after the fall of communism. A valuable fresco has been discovered in the church, hidden behind a large revolutionary mural, and international and local art historians meet to argue over who should claim ownership. Art curator Gabriella Pecs sees the fresco as a boost to the self-esteem of her nation, whereas the young Minister for Culture, Mikhail Czaba, plans on turning the church into a tourist hotspot, potentially yielding a fortune for the government. When a multinational group of armed asylum-seekers raid and occupy the church, taking the experts hostage, they soon realise that their human prisoners may be of far less value to them than the fresco itself. The fate of the painting becomes a metaphor for the future of the emergent nations of Eastern Europe as well as a focal point for conflicting attitudes towards art.

The Royal Shakespeare Company production was directed by Michael Attenborough and designed by Robert Jones. The cast was Charles Kay, Jan Ravens, Claire Carrie, Simon Cook, Nigel Cooke, Roy Ward, Steven Elliott, Glenn Hugill, Linal Haft, Judith Sweeney, Linford Brown, Nigel Clauzel, Quill Roberts, Katharine Rogers, Sean O'Callaghan, Natalie Izgol, Rebecca Underwood, Catherine Kanter, Sasha Behar and Thusitha Jayasundera.

The production transferred to the Young Vic, London, with performances from 31 May 1995.

Pentecost won the 1995 Evening Standard Award for Best Play.

Playing with Fire

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar's Playing with Fire is a drama about racial tensions in modern, multicultural Britain, set mostly in a fictional town in West Yorkshire. It was first performed in the Olivier auditorium of the National Theatre, London, on 21 September 2005.

When the defiantly northern Wyverdale District Council fails to satisfy a government audit, a New Labour fixer, Alex Clifton, is despatched from the capital to formulate a robust recovery plan. But resources spent on websites, ‘faith festivals’ and council leaflets in Bengali seem beside the point to the Labour old guard, struggling as they are to provide basic services to an alienated and divided electorate. What's more, the reforms seem only to fan the flames of racial tension, and when riots break out, everyone starts looking for someone to blame.

The National Theatre premiere was directed by Michael Attenborough and designed by Lez Brotherston, with a cast including Emma Fielding, David Troughton and Oliver Ford Davies.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar’s The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a play about political negotiation and the difficulty of reconciling opposing nationalist forces. It is the third play in Edgar's post-Cold War trilogy, which also includes The Shape of the Table (1990) and Pentecost (1994). It was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 11 July 2001.

Beginning in early 1989 and spanning some twelve years, the play follows a team of peace negotiators attempting to resolve an ethnic conflict occurring within a fictional former Soviet republic. Inside Kavkhazia lies a largely Muslim province, Drozhdevnya, that wants independence. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the two ethnic groups have fought bitterly for control over the country. As the two sides fight on the ground, attempts are made by a Finnish peace-broker to hammer out an accord that will guarantee a democratic, multi-ethnic state. Just when it looks as if a deal has been reached, however, one side swerves and the whole cyclical process starts all over again.

The Royal Shakespeare Company premiere was directed by Michael Attenborough and designed by Es Devlin. The cast was Douglas Rao, Diana Kent, David Wilmot, Joseph Mydell, Penny Downie, Larry Lamb, Trevor Cooper, Alex Zorbas, Zoe Waites, George Clarke, Joshua Dale, Alan David, Robert Bowman, Robert Jezek and Hattie Morahan.

The production transferred to the Pit Theatre, Barbican, London, with performances from 24 January 2002.

Saigon Rose

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

After a one-night stand with an old flame from America, Vicky loses interest in Clive. Hurt by the betrayal, Clive sleeps with Mo, a waitress from a local café. She in turn is modelling for Clay, the draft-dodging American photographer whose visits up and down the country find him in both Vicky’s and Mo’s beds. The chain of infidelity and promiscuity is uncovered when all four contract the ‘Saigon Rose’, the slang term used by American GIs during the Vietnam War for gonorrhoea.

As the infection spreads, the modern ‘American’ values represented by Clay are also transmitted, corrupting the relationships which connect these four characters. Although sparked by the arrival of the foreign photographer, David Edgar’s portrayal of the clashes in personal, sexual and political mores hints at the underlying fragility of this Scottish society.

Saigon Rose was first presented at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in July 1976. It was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 1979.

The Shape of the Table

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

The Shape of the Table tracks the collapse of an Eastern Bloc government at the end of 1989. As the old regime retreats, former political prisoners join banned writers around the negotiating table...

The play is part of David Edgar's post-Cold War trilogy of plays, which also includes Pentecost and The Prisoner's Dilemma.

Witty and informative, this play is both an intensely topical account of what actually went on in the corridors of power and a timeless analysis of revolution in action. In particular the play explores not only the challenge of seizing power, but also the difficulty of relinquishing it.

Teendreams

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It is 1975 and Frances and Rosie, friends since their teenage years, when they discovered the revolution of feminism together, are nonetheless drifting apart. At the same time, Denise and Tricia, part of the new crop of girls-becoming-women, are still in school, and suffering still with the confusion of their femininity as others did years before.

Each woman must carve for herself a new way of life, away from the choiceless careening of girlhood to bridehood, but for none will it be an easy journey, as optimism of the sixties turns stale and harsh by the middle of the next decade.

Written in collaboration with Susan Todd, Teendreams was first presented by Monstrous Regiment at the Van Dyck Theatre, Bristol, in 1979. It was the theatre company's sixth production, and their first to be part-authored by a man.

Testing the Echo

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar's Testing the Echo is a play that explores contemporary national identity in multicultural Britain, and examines the efficacy of the British citizenship test. It was first performed by Out of Joint Theatre Company at Salisbury Playhouse, on 17 January 2008, followed by a UK tour.

The citizenship test (or Life in the UK Test) became a requirement for anyone seeking British citizenship or settlement in the UK under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act, 2002.

In the play, Emma is a dedicated ESOL teacher (English for Speakers of Other Languages), teaching British citizenship to people from all over the world. At the same time, Tetyana, Mahmood and Chong have their own, very different reasons for wanting to pass the citizenship test. As the Home Office worries about the questions on the test, Emma faces a challenge to her deepest-held beliefs. The play explores the notion of Britishness and asks whether it can really be defined by a simple test of multiple choice.

The Out of Joint production was directed by Matthew Dunster and designed by Paul Wills. The cast was Teresa Banham, Kirsty Bushell, Sushil Chudasama, Farzana Dua Elahe, Ian Dunn, Robert Gwilym, Syrus Lowe and Sirine Saba.

That Summer

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

That Summer is set in the late summer of 1984, at a time when miners were striking all over Britain as their unions and the Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher, fought a battle that would change the industrial outlook of Britain forever.

In Edgar's play, a middle-class couple, Howard and Cressida, have decided to provide some support to the miners, by welcoming two girls from the mining community, daughters of striking miners, to join them in their holiday home near the Welsh coast. By placing these children of the working class amongst the interested, but unvested middle class, Edgar shows how an ideological battle can be fought not just intellectually, but experienced as a mere inexorable fact of life.

In a note on the play, Edgar writes 'That Summer is set against the background of the 1984-5 miners' strike. The play is a work of fiction and its characters are invented. But it nonetheless owes much to many Rhondda miners and their families'.

That Summer was first performed at the Hampstead Theatre in 1987.

A Time to Keep

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A Time to Keep is large-cast community play written for the Dorchester Community Players by David Edgar and Stephanie Dale. It was first performed at The Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester, on 16 November 2007.

Set in Dorset in the summer of 1804, against the backdrop of the threatened Napoleonic invasion of Britain, A Time to Keep inhabits terrain somewhere between Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, with its ambitious middle-classes, its garrison of eligible officers, and its impoverished low-lifes. Driving the plot is an unlikely but passionate romance between Mary, a well-born but feisty young woman, and Isaac, the youngest son of a family of notorious smugglers.

The play has a cast list of over 115 names (almost all of them real, historical people), reflecting the nature of a community play. As the authors write in an introduction to the published script, 'The Dorchester Community Plays Association insists that everyone who wants a part in one of its plays gets one. ... Our first draft had a cast of 92; our second draft went down to 84. It’s a tribute to Dorchester’s four previous community plays that we were inundated with volunteers for this one.'

The original production was directed by Jon Oram and designed by Ariane Gastambide.

Trying It On  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar's Trying It On is an autobiographical play, written to be performed by its author. It was first performed at Warwick Arts Centre on 7 June 2018, at the beginning of a tour which included dates at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre; the Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham; the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Other Place Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon; and the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London. It was commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre and produced by China Plate theatre studio.

The play is performed on a set designed to look like a study, full of clutter, with a stage manager’s table to the side. David addresses the audience directly, reflecting on the journey he's taken from the twenty-year-old of 1968, experiencing worldwide student revolt and being immersed in radical politics, to the seventy-year-old of today. He wants to know if those two Davids share the same beliefs, and if not, whether it is the world that’s changed, or him. He conducts straw polls to find out the audience's position on certain topics. He presents video testimony from several authors and political commentators. And as his delves deeper into his own history, and the apparently deepening rift between generations today, the Stage Manager, a young woman called Danni, steps in to challenge his perspective.

The premiere production was directed by Christopher Haydon and designed by Frankie Bradshaw, with David Edgar performing as himself, and Danielle Phillips as the Stage Manager.

Written on the Heart

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar's Written on the Heart is a historical drama about the creation of the King James Bible, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to mark its four-hundredth anniversary in 2011. It was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 27 October 2011.

After almost a century of unrest, the King James Bible was intended to end the violent upheavals of the English Reformation. But deep-seated discord forces a leading translator to confront the betrayal of his youthful religious ideals for the sake of social peace. The play begins with a heated debate about last-minute revisions to the new version, taking place in the Holborn house of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes in 1610. It then backtracks first to Flanders in 1536 to show us the outlawed William Tyndale smuggling his biblical translation out of prison, and then to Yorkshire in 1586 to demonstrate the unresolved tensions inside the Protestant Reformation. At the heart of the play is a long scene in which Andrewes debates at length with the ghost of Tyndale, who had been burnt at the stake almost 70 years earlier.

Edgar probes into the complex history of the translation of the Bible, and sets out to prove that it was both a product of its time and also a patchwork of previous translations, foremost amongst them Tyndale's.

The Royal Shakespeare Company premiere was directed by Gregory Doran and designed by Francis O’Connor, with Oliver Ford Davies as Lancelot Andrewes and Stephen Boxer as William Tyndale.

The production transferred to the Duchess Theatre in the West End on 19 April 2012, but closed early on 19 May.

Picture of David Edgar

David Edgar is a British playwright and journalist, whose works are known for their strong political content. Edgar began to write in the wake of the student rebellions of 1968. His reputation was established when Destiny (1976), which examines racist and fascist elements in British culture, was performed in a production by the RSC.

His other works include Wreckers (1977), Mary Barnes (1977), The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs (1978), Maydays (1983), That Summer (1987), The Shape of the Table (1990), The Prisoner's Dilemma (2002), Albert Speer (1999), Continental Divide (2003), Playing With Fire (2005), and Testing the Echo (2008). Edgar has also been involved with community theatre projects, most notably A Time to Keep (2007), co-written with Stephanie Dale for community actors in Dorchester.