Adrian Mitchell

Adrian Mitchell was born in 1932. He studied at Christ Church College Oxford, and began as a reporter and theatre critic at the ‘Oxford Mail’ in 1955. He then moved to the ‘Evening Standard’. From 1963 to 1965 he worked as a freelance music journalist for various newspapers.  During this period, he published the first interview with the Beatles in a national newspaper.  The interview was the basis for a long term friendship between him and Paul McCartney.  As a result of this friendship they published an edition of McCartney’s poems and lyrics under the title ‘Blackbird Singing’ (2001). Mitchell’s literary career started in 1961, when he received an inheritance.  This made it possible for him to dedicate himself freely to write not only his first TV script, but also his first work of prose: ‘If You See Me Comin” (1962). Three novels followed, many TV scripts, as well numerous unconventional plays and musicals for both adults and children, which were produced and successfully played on the main British theatre circuit.  An example of which is ‘Tyger’ (1971), a musical about William Blake’s life and work. He also wrote the Libretto for Peter Schat’s Opera ‘Houdini’ (1977) and in addition he adapted popular stories such as Ibsen’s ‘Peer Gynt’ (1995) and Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2000) into Musicals. In 1964 he celebrated his successful adaptation of Peter Weiss’ play on Marat/Sade for the Royal Shakespeare Company, which was directed by Peter Brook.  Mitchell’s lyrics are characterised by a humourous note and wit, and above all by critical sharpness. Mitchell was renowned for his ability to present current and relevant themes from a political standpoint in the form of conversational style melodic poetry.  The memorable ‘To Whom it May Concern’ was presented as a reading in 1965 by Mitchell and Allen Ginsberg in the Royal Albert Hall as an angry cry against the official cover-up relating to the Vietnam war.  In the 1990’s he put together a retrospective of his poetic life’s work from the past five decades into three volumes. At that time the author took a new direction into writing powerful children’s poetry and stories.  ‘Daft as a Doughnut’ (2004) was shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award in 2005.

On 20 December 2008, Adrian Mitchell died in London.

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