Nicholas Wright was born in Cape Town. He trained as an actor and joined the Royal Court Theatre in London as Casting Director before becoming the first Director of the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, where he presented an influential programme of new and first-time writing.
From 1975 to 1977 he was joint Artistic Director of the Royal Court. He joined the National Theatre in 1984 as Literary Manager and was an Associate Director of the National until 1998.
His plays include Treetops and One Fine Day (Riverside Studios), The Gorky Brigade (Royal Court), The Crimes of Vautrin (Joint Stock), The Custom of the Country and The Desert Air (both Royal Shakespeare Company) and Cressida (Almeida Theatre at the Albery). At the National Theatre: Mrs. Klein, Vincent in Brixton (Olivier Award 2003), The Reporter and Travelling Light. His adaptation of Philip Pullman’s three-book cycle His Dark Materials was premiered at the National Theatre in 2003 and revived in 2004. The Last of the Duchess, adapted from the book by Caroline Blackwood, was produced at Hampstead Theatre in 2011. His play A Human Being Died That Night, based on the book by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, was produced at Hampstead in 2012 and 2014 and is scheduled to play at BAM in New York in the Spring of 2015. In 2014, his adaptation of Pat Barker’s World War I novel, Regeneration was widely toured across the UK.
His versions of Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman and Chekhov’s Three Sisters were presented at the National Theatre, and his versions of Pirandello’s Naked and Wedekind’s Lulu were produced by the Almeida. His opera libretto The Little Prince (music by Rachel Portman) was premiered at Houston Grand Opera in 2003 and his opera for television, Buzz on the Moon, with music by Jonathan Dove, went out on Channel 4 in 2006.
His writing about the theater includes 99 Plays - a personal selection from Aeschylus to the present day - and Changing Stages, co-written with Richard Eyre.