A new website dedicated to the life and times of Leicester-born playwright Joe Orton has been endorsed by the Orton Estate and has been created in partnership with Leicester City Council, the University of Leicester and Islington Council.
The website includes information on Orton’s plays and diaries along with current Orton news and events. There is also an online gallery, articles, essays and research by Orton scholars.
It follows a series of events and exhibitions in Leicester in 2007 focusing on Orton, who lived in the city’s Saffron Lane Estate.
Last spring, New Walk Museum and Art Gallery hosted Ortonesque, which brought together many of Orton’s personal artefacts for the first time, and in November, Phoenix Arts staged a new performance dramatising his diaries.
Contributors to the website include Orton expert Dr Francesca Coppa, who hosted a series of talks in Leicester on Orton’s life and work, and Orton’s sister, Leonie Orton-Barnett, who opened the Ortonesque exhibition. Said Leonie: “With the exhibition, the new performance at Phoenix Arts and now the website, it really has been a fantastic year for Joe Orton fans. It’s quite exciting as the website will hopefully introduce a whole new generation from around the world to Joe’s work.” Other contributors to the site include Braham Murray, who directed Orton’s play Loot at Manchester’s Century Theatre in 1966, and director David Grindley.
The site itself was designed by Orton fan Alison Forsyth, who was inspired to create the site after visiting Leicester’s Ortonesque event. She said: “This is the result of a long-held interest in Joe’s life and work, dating back to the early 1980s. I am very pleased to be able to provide Joe with a permanent home on the internet.”
Leicester City Council’s arts and museums marketing manager, Shaun Knapp, added: “The Ortonesque exhibition last year was a tremendous success for Leicester, attracting 25,000 people from around the country and Europe. For the first time, the content of that exhibition is online for even more people to enjoy.”
Joe Orton Online is at www.joeorton.org