Who is Benedict Nightingale?
William Benedict Herbert Nightingale is a British journalist, formerly a regular theatre critic for The Times newspaper. He was born in 1939 and educated at Charterhouse and Magdalene College, Cambridge. His first published theatre review was for the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser in 1957, a production of Look Back in Anger by a local amateur group.
He worked for The Guardian as a reporter and in 1969 was appointed drama critic of the New Statesman in London, a post which he held until 1986 when he was appointed Professor of English with special reference to Drama at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He spent the whole of the 1983-84 season in New York, writing a series of Sunday theatre columns for The New York Times. His diary of the period was first published by Times Books in 1986 as Fifth Row Center: A Critic's Year On and Off Broadway He was appointed chief theatre critic for The Times in London in 1990 in succession to Irving Wardle.
After two decades at The Times, on 1 June 2010 Nightingale was replaced by The Times journalist Libby Purves. This, its consequences and Nightingale's career as a critic, were discussed by Mark Shenton in his 26 January 2010 theatre blog for The Stage.
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