Peggy Ramsay was the most admired British play agent of the twentieth century. With a matchless ability to visualise a play just by reading it on the page, she set up in business in 1953, and over the years nurtured and developed the most dazzling client list which included Eugene Ionesco, Joe Orton, Robert Bolt, David Mercer, John McGrath, Iris Murdoch, John Mortimer, James Saunders, Peter Nichols, Charles Wood, Ann Jellicoe, Edward Bond, Christopher Hampton, David Hare, Alan Ayckbourn, Caryl Churchill, Howard Brenton and Willy Russell. Her role in the development of modern British drama was central.
One of the most remarkable things about her was her instinctive generosity. Peggy believed that the living playwright belonged at the centre of the theatre. A theatre without new writing talent to refresh it was worthless.
And she often backed her belief by opening her handbag and offering dramatists cash from her wallet. On her death in 1991, her will stipulated that her legacy should go to ‘benefit writers in need of assistance… and to the encouragement of the art of writing.’ Her executors G Laurence Harbottle and Simon Callow set up the Peggy Ramsay Foundation to achieve this aim.
You can find out more from the following books:
Peggy: Life of Margaret Ramsay, Play Agent by Colin Chambers (Nick Hern Books)
Love is Where it Falls by Simon Callow (Penguin)