A new edition of Joe Orton's 1964 play Entertaining Mr Sloane has been released to include previously unseen material.
Editor of the new version Dr Emma Parker said she wanted to make sure Orton's work, a satire on sexual and social hypocrisy, was not forgotten.
During her research, Dr Parker found he wanted Mr Sloane's age to be 17 not 20, as the character is in the '64 version.
Orton was born in Leicester in 1933 and was killed by his lover in 1967.
'Orton's best play'
According to the University of Leicester academic, Entertaining Mr Sloane was "the summer sensation of 1964" and was described by the London Evening News as "a real shocker".
Playwright Terrence Rattigan declared Sloane "the most exciting and stimulating first play" that he had seen in "30 (odd) years" and Tennessee Williams hailed it as the funniest play he had ever seen.
"With Orton, there is too much attention on his life and I wanted to bring the attention back to his work," said Dr Parker, who went back to Orton's original version of the play.
"I think Sloane is his best play, even though people think of it as the precursor to Loot and What the Butler Saw.
"I wanted to big up a big Leicester author so he doesn't get forgotten."
Dr Parker said, having gone back to previous versions and reading Orton's correspondence, he wanted Mr Sloane's age to be 17, probably to be "even more controversial".
Born in Leicester in 1933, Orton won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he met his lover, Kenneth Halliwell.
Orton and Halliwell - an actor and writer, seven years older than Orton - led an almost monastic existence for the 13 years they were together, Dr Parker said.
They did not work for long periods of time, so to keep their outgoings low, they went to bed when it got dark outside so as not to use electricity.
The University of Leicester holds the Joe Orton Archive and is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the play.
On 29 June, the 1968 ITV Playhouse version of Entertaining Mr Sloane, starring Sheila Hancock, will be screened at the university and novelist Jake Arnott and theatre director Nick Bagnall will be talking about Orton.
It took about five years for the play to be shown on television as the content was deemed so shocking.
Leicester University Theatre will be performing Mr Sloane in June.
- 1 February 2010
- 4 November 2009