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Margaret Wood

This article reproduced from The Guardian.

No writer, perhaps, in the past half century better met the needs of amateur drama than Margaret Wood, who has died aged 90. She created plays with simple sets and lighting, knew the possibilities of a makeshift stage and wrote more parts for women than for men. She had a flair for dramatic structure and an instinctive ear for dialogue reflecting common human experience.

Her first work was performed in 1939, her last published in 1988. From 1994 to 1997, there were more than 180 productions of her one-act plays in 12 countries, from the United States to Turkey. She knew how to make an audience laugh, but could also be controversial - reflecting her pacifism - as in The Guilty Generation (1958), set in the year 2000, after a nuclear war.

Literature and history were also inspirations. Instruments Of Darkness concerns innocent servants caught up in Macbeth's evil; The Road To Damascus has St Paul immediately before his fateful journey; Fool's Errand deftly dramatises Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale in rhyming couplets. Wood won the British Drama League original play award five times.

She was born in Great Yarmouth, where her father, a butcher, was a Gilbert and Sullivan fan and occasional scriptwriter for the comedians Elsie and Doris Walters. After Great Yarmouth high school for girls, she read English at Royal Holloway College, London, before teaching in Hereford, where she met her husband, Rudy, also a teacher, who went on, as ER Wood, to edit a drama series and volumes of one-act plays for Heinemann, and write a biography of David Garrick.

Margaret also wrote for BBC radio, served as a magistrate, and was an GCE O-level examiner. Her husband died in 1988; she is survived by two daughters.

Margaret Wood, playwright, born March 4 1911; died February 9 2002.

See for a list of her stage plays.

Plays we've performed

A Kind of Justice (1986)