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Background to The Caretaker
Background to The Caretaker
Setting and Structure
Take Care Response Project


Project Timeline

Techniques and Styles in The Caretaker

Who is the Caretaker?

Theatre in the 1950's
Pinter on Pinter
High Storrs Response Project Diary
Hinde House Response Project Diary
Photos The Dearne High School
Photos High Storrs School
Photos Hinde House
The Production
Meet the Company
Take Part
Join In
Pinter - A Celebration


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Background to The Caretaker

Prior to the 1950’s, and writers like Pinter, theatrical convention meant plays offered escapism from everyday life - their language and subject matter being far removed from ordinary life. Playwrights like Pinter, moved away from these conventions, introducing social and political themes, challenging the audience, encouraging them to question and revise their preconceptions. They used language that reflected this move away from fantasy to social realism, reflecting the tone and texture of everyday conversation. Pinter’s naturalist style of dialogue includes both pauses, silences, repetition, with sentences often being left unfinished. This style is far removed from the perfectly formed, articulate sentences of conventional theatre prior to the 1950’s.

For more information on theatre of the 1950’s click on the following link. Theatre in the 1950’s.

Until The Caretaker, Pinter’s plays had received criticism, because of their style that was both unique and challenging, moving away as it did from the normal theatrical conventions of the period.

The Caretaker was to be Pinter's first box office success. It opened at the Arts Theatre, London on 27 April 1960, transferred to the Duchess on 30 May 2006 after the first month and ran for 444 performances. Subsequently it has been performed worldwide. Pinter took on the role of Mick for a four week period when Alan Bates went to work on Whistle Down the Wind.

The Caretaker has its roots in real life. Its characters based on an incident in Pinter’s life and reflecting his interest in tramps.

“Pinter wrote The Caretaker while living in a first floor flat in Chiswick High Road, at number 373. The events that happened in the play are a fairly close transcription of real events. Pinter and his wife Vivien and their very young son Daniel were living in this very modest two room flat and there was a kindly man who looked after the flat for his brother, in real life his name was Austin. One day Austin brought a tramp he’d met in a cafe back to the house and the tramp stayed for two or three weeks. Pinter knew the tramp very slightly and then one day he looked through an open door and saw Austin with his back to the tramp gazing out into the garden and the tramp busy putting stuff back into some kind of grubby hold-all, obviously being given his marching orders. All this matters because it then becomes the bones of the plot of The Caretaker. The Caretaker is not an absolute record of reality but it’s based on real events and very closely on that particular part of West London.” Michael Billington - Pinter at the BBC www.bbc.co.uk/pinter

Pinter took this snapshot and created The Caretaker. Information on how Sheffield Theatres has interpreted The Caretaker will be available online from October 2006.