William Stanley Houghton
22 February 1881
|Died||11 December 1913 32) (aged|
William Stanley Houghton (22 February 1881 – 11 December 1913) was an English playwright. He was a prominent member, together with Allan Monkhouse and Harold Brighouse, of a group known as the Manchester School of dramatists. His best known play is Hindle Wakes which was written in 1910 and performed in 1912.
William Stanley Houghton was born at 1 Amy Villas, Doveston Road, Ashton-upon-Mersey, Sale, Cheshire, the only son of John Hartley Houghton, a cotton merchant in Manchester, and Lucy Mary (née Darbyshire). 
In 1896, the family moved to 2 Athol Road, Alexandra Park, Manchester, some two miles from the city centre.  Houghton was educated at Bowdon College and at Manchester Grammar School. Upon leaving school in 1897, he started working full-time in his father's office and continued to do this until 1912. During this time he was an amateur actor and writer. In 1905–06 he was an unpaid film critic for the Manchester City News and between 1905 and 1913 he contributed articles, theatrical notices and literary reviews to the Manchester Guardian . He wrote a number of unpublished plays. 
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Houghton's first productions were The Intrigues at the Athenaeum Society, Manchester on 19 October 1906, The Reckoning at the Queen's Theatre, London on 22 July 1907, and The Dear Departed at the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester on 2 November 1908, the first of many to be produced at the Gaiety Theatre, Britain's first regional repertory theatre. This theatre was owned and managed by Annie Horniman who encouraged local writers.
Other plays to receive their premières at the Gaiety were Independent Means on 30 August 1909, The Younger Generation on 21 November 1910, The Master of the House on 26 September 1910, and Fancy-Free on 6 November 1911. For a time, Houghton was the honorary secretary of the Manchester Athenaeum Dramatic Society, and frequently gave his services as a producer. 
Houghton's greatest success came with his play Hindle Wakes , which was first performed by Horniman's company at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on 16 June 1912.  It had a long run in London,  and remains his best known work. Later in the same year The Younger Generation was successfully produced at the Haymarket Theatre, London, with Trust the People the following year at the Garrick Theatre and The Perfect Cure at the Apollo Theatre. 
Following the success of Hindle Wakes, Houghton left his office job in 1912 to become a full-time dramatist and moved to London, where he became part of the city's dramatic and literary culture.[ citation needed ] The following year he moved to Paris where he started to write a novel entitled Life. During the summer of that year he developed viral pneumonia in Venice and moved back to Manchester where he died in December from meningitis.  He was cremated in Manchester crematorium, leaving an estate of £5,488. He was unmarried. In 1915 a memorial tablet was unveiled in the Manchester Reference Library. 
Houghton was influenced strongly by Ibsen, yet he wrote no propagandist plays other than Independent Needs. His plays are set locally in Northern England, but represent universal aspects of human nature. Other writers who had an influence on him were George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and St John Hankin. 
A collection of material relating to Houghton, including unpublished plays and photographs, is held in the University of Salford. 
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Hindle Wakes is a stage play by Stanley Houghton written in 1910. It was first performed in 1912.
Harold Brighouse was an English playwright and author whose best known play is Hobson's Choice. He was a prominent member, together with Allan Monkhouse and Stanley Houghton, of a group known as the Manchester School of dramatists.
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The "Manchester School" was a number of playwrights from Manchester, England, who were active in the early 20th century. The leading figures in the group were Harold Brighouse, Stanley Houghton and Allan Monkhouse. They were championed by Annie Horniman, owner of the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester.
Independent Means is a stage play written by Stanley Houghton, a leading member of the Manchester School of dramatists.
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Trust the People is a 1913 play by the British writer Stanley Houghton, who had gained popular attention with his hit Hindle Wakes the previous year. It centres around the activities of a group of government officials.
The Perfect Cure is a 1913 comedy play by the British writer Stanley Houghton. A father is cured of his selfish habits by a charming widow.
The Younger Generation is a comedy play by the British writer Stanley Houghton. It takes place in a dining room of a house in the suburbs of Manchester, during a period of twenty four hours.
|Wikisource has the text of a 1922 Encyclopædia Britannica article about " Stanley Houghton ".|