Nick Darke 1948-2005

Nick Darke by Steve Tanner.

Born and educated in Cornwall, England, the playwright Nick Darke studied acting at Rose Bruford College, Kent before learning his craft at The Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. Here Nick performed in over 80 plays and in 1978 wrote his first play, Never Say Rabbit in a Boat. Its success led him to give up acting and in the following year he won the George Devine Award.

His work attracted further commissions and everything he wrote for the theatre was produced. This included 24 plays that were staged at The National Theatre, London; The Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratfordupon-Avon; The Bush, London; by Kneehigh Theatre and at The Royal Court, London.

He wrote several radio plays and made documentaries for radio and also successfully wrote for television and film. He moved back to Cornwall in 1990 and enjoyed the life of his childhood, fishing and wrecking (beachcombing). In 2001 he had a stroke which affected his speech and reading and writing. He and his wife Jane made the film, The Wrecking Season about the contacts he made tracing fishing gear back to the east coast of America. (Broadcast by BBC Four in 2005 and 2010)

Nick died of cancer in 2005, aged 56 with his funeral held on the beach. He and Jane filmed the last few months of his life. She made the film The Art of Catching Lobsters (BBC Four 2007) about their life together and grief. They have two sons; Jim is a marine scientist, Henry a filmmaker and writer.

For more information about Nick’s life and work please visit: falmouth.ac.uk/nickdarkeaward