Jo Clifford (formerly known as John Clifford) is an award-winning playwright, translator, poet, and performer, who has also worked as a journalist and academic. She was instrumental in establishing the reputation of the Traverse Theatre Company in the 1980s. Jo Clifford is the author of over 70 works in every dramatic medium. Her work has been translated into many languages and has been performed all over the world. Her plays include THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE; SEX, CHIPS AND THE HOLY GHOST; EVERYONE; AN APPLE A DAY; LOSING VENICE; PLAYING WITH FIRE; INES DE CASTRO; LIGHT IN THE VILLAGE; TCHAIKOVSKY & THE QUEEN OF SPADES; and CHARLES DICKENS: THE HAUNTED MAN. Also for the stage, Jo has adapted FAUST PARTS 1 & 2 and ANNA KARENINA, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, LA VIE DE BOHEME and WUTHERING HEIGHTS and has translated SCHISM IN ENGLAND, LIFE IS A DREAM, CELESTINA, THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA, and BINTOU. For radio, Jo has written SPAM FRITTERS, WRITING HOME TO MOTHER, MADELEINE, and AIN'T IT GREAT TO BE BLOOMIN' WELL DEAD and has adapted BALTASAR & BLIMUNDA. Jo's adaptation of Charles Dickens's GREAT EXPECTATIONS has toured the UK. She lives in Edinburgh and is a former Professor of Theatre at Queen Margaret University.
Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Born in Madrid, Spain, on January 17, 1600, Pedro Calderón de la Barca would eventually become one of Spain's most important dramatists. Along with the older playwright Lope De Vega, Calderón would dominate Spain's Golden Age of theatre. Educated at the Jesuit Colegio Imperial, Calderón studied law at the University of Alcalá (1614 – 15) and the University of Salamanca (1615 – 21), but did not earn a degree. In 1621, he entered the household of the Constable of Castille, Don Bernardino Fernández de Velasco. Two years later, in 1623, he began writing plays for the court. Calderón's most famous play, LIFE IS A DREAM, explores the conflict between free will and predestination. Aside from LIFE IS A DREAM, Calderón is perhaps best known for his plays of honor and revenge like THE MAYOR OF ZALEME, THE PHYSICIAN OF HIS HONOR, SECRET INSULT, SECRET VENGEANCE, and THE PAINTER OF HIS OWN DISHONOR. Calderón became a priest in 1651, but continued to write plays as the court dramatist for Philip IV. He also wrote two autos sacramentales each year for the city of Madrid. In his later years, he developed a series of elaborate mythological themes that reflected the tastes and interests of the Spanish Court during the waning years of the Golden Age. He died in Madrid on May 25, 1681. Of his 120 surviving works, approximately eighty are autos sacramentales, morality plays celebrating the mystery of the Eucharist on Corpus Christi day.