Alan Williams (born 1954 in Manchester, England[1]) is a British actor and playwright, who has performed in film, television and theatre in both the United Kingdom and Canada.[2]

Life and career

Originally from Manchester[2] and educated at The Manchester Grammar School, he took some classes in theatre school but received the bulk of his training as an apprentice with the Hull Truck Theatre.[3] He performed his Cockroach trilogy of one-man plays (The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati, The Return of the Cockroach and The Cockroach Has Landed) at the influential London fringe venue The Bush Theatre and subsequently at the International Theatre Festival in Toronto, Ontario in 1981,[4] and then decided to remain in the city, becoming playwright in residence at the Tarragon Theatre.[5]

He later moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, becoming a theatre professor at the University of Winnipeg.[2] His subsequent plays in Canada included The Warlord of Willowdale,[5] The White Dogs of Texas,[6] King of America,[7] Dixieland's Night of Shame,[8] Welcome to the NHL[3] and The Duke of Nothing.[9] He also took some acting roles in other playwrights' work, most notably appearing opposite Linda Griffiths in her two-person play The Darling Family[10] and its 1994 film adaptation by Alan Zweig.[11]

In 1996, his Cockroach trilogy was adapted into the film The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati.[12] The film garnered Williams a Genie Award nomination for Best Actor at the 18th Genie Awards.[13] Soon after completing the film of The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati, Williams moved back to England,[14] where he has had roles in films such as The Scold's Bridle, Touching Evil, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Vera Drake, and television series including Always and Everyone, Coronation Street, Wire in the Blood, Life Begins, The Virgin Queen, Rome, Luther, Father Brown, Doc Martin and Starlings. He returned to Canada in 2015 to tour his new theatre trilogy The Girl with Two Voices.[2][14]



  1. ^ Alan Williams brings Girl to Winnipeg. In:, January 6, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Success, Failure All Part of the Plan for Playwright". Winnipeg Free Press, 6 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Tall tales from outsiders; Performer-playwright brings acclaimed trilogy to Ottawa". Ottawa Citizen, 4 May 1988.
  4. ^ "Cockroach displays humor". The Globe and Mail, 20 May 1981.
  5. ^ a b "From Cockroach Trilogy to suburbia Williams battles theatre cliches". The Globe and Mail, 11 January 1984.
  6. ^ "Spontaneity sings in Williams's White Dogs". Ottawa Citizen, 5 May 1988.
  7. ^ "King of America gives audience unique lesson in hilarious history". Ottawa Citizen, 12 May 1998.
  8. ^ "Tall tales and home truths: The creator of the Cockroach Trilogy tries his hand at drama". The Globe and Mail, 22 August 1987.
  9. ^ "Playwright takes on Canadian theatre values". Toronto Star, 15 March 1991.
  10. ^ "'The act of theatre is an act of hope'". The Globe and Mail, 24 January 1991.
  11. ^ "Movie strikes balance in the abortion debate". Edmonton Journal, 7 December 1994.
  12. ^ "Film is '60s surreal: Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati funny and disconcerting". Montreal Gazette, 24 May 1997.
  13. ^ "Sweet Hereafter leads the Genie award pack". The Province, 5 November 1997.
  14. ^ a b "U.K. artist finds truth stranger than fantasy". Calgary Herald, 10 January 2015.