Michael Keith Billington

Michael Keith Billington

Theater critic and art critic
Date of Birth: 16.11.1939
Country: USA

Biography of Michael Kit Billington

Early Life and Education

Michael Kit Billington was born on November 16, 1939, in the resort town of Leamington in Warwickshire, also known as Shakespeare's county. He attended a private boys' school in Warwick, which is considered one of the oldest in the county. From 1958 to 1961, Billington studied at St. Catherine's College, Oxford, where he earned a bachelor's degree. He later became an Honorary Fellow of the college. In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick.

Michael Keith Billington

Career in Journalism

After graduating from Oxford, Billington began his career as an arts journalist at the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo. Over the next few years, he worked as a director for the Lincoln Theatre Company and as a public relations officer in Lincolnshire. From 1965 to 1971, he served as a critic for The Times, writing about film, television, and theater. He also wrote film reviews for the Birmingham Post from 1968 to 1978 and contributed to The Illustrated London News from 1968 to 1981. In October 1971, Billington joined The Guardian as a theater critic, a position he has held ever since. In addition, he wrote for The New York Times from the early 1980s and for Country Life from 1988 onwards.

Passion for Theater

Billington's love for theater began during his college years. He was a member of the Oxford University Dramatic Society and made his only stage appearance in 1959, playing the Priest in Aristophanes' comedy "The Birds". A year later, he directed Eugene Ionesco's play "The Bald Soprano" for the National Student Drama Festival, which caught the attention of Harold Hobson, a theater critic for The Sunday Times. This encounter changed Billington's life, as he realized his passion for theater criticism. Five years later, they became colleagues at The Times.

Contributions to the Arts

In addition to his work in print media, Billington hosted radio programs on BBC Radio 4 and made frequent appearances on other radio stations and television. Since 2006, he has been teaching in the British program at the University of Pennsylvania, and since 2002, he has been delivering lectures on theater history at the Royal London College.

Works and Recognition

Billington is best known as the official biographer of Harold Pinter, Britain's most influential playwright. He has also written biographies and critical works on English actress Peggy Ashcroft, playwright and director Tom Stoppard, and playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn. In December 2005, he attended the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm to celebrate Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize in Literature. In March 2006, Billington participated in an international symposium on Pinter in Turin, Italy, following Pinter's European Theatre Prize. He has presented papers at various conferences and events, further establishing his reputation as a notable figure in the theater world.