Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Whose Life Is It Anyway? is a play by Brian Clark adapted from his 1972 television play of the same title. The stage version premièred in 1978 at the Mermaid Theatre in London, and subsequently opened on Broadway in 1979. The play involves a sculptor who is paralysed.

Set in a hospital room, the action revolves around Ken Harrison (Claire Harrison in some later productions), a sculptor by profession, who was paralysed from the neck down (quadriplegia) in a car accident and is determined to be allowed to die. Clark presents arguments both in favour of and opposing euthanasia and to what extent government should be allowed to interfere in the life of a private citizen. In portraying Ken as an intelligent man with a useless body, he leaves the audience with conflicting feelings about his desire to end his life.

Whose Life Is It Anyway? opened at the Mermaid Theatre, London, on 6 March 1978, before playing at the Savoy Theatre from June 1978 to October 1979. This production originally starred Tom Conti and Jane Asher; Conti transferred to New York to star in the Broadway production.

Cast & Crew


Andrew Eden
Dr Barr
Dr Emerson
Dr Paul Travers
Dr Scott
Dr Scott
Kay Sadler
Ken Harrison
Mr Justice Millhouse
Mr Justice Millhouse
Mrs Boyle
Peter Kershaw
Philip Hill
Sister Anderson


  (credited as Michael Lindsay-Hogg)
Executive Producer

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Play description

“When sculptor Ken Harrison is permanently paralysed in an accident, he resolves to die rather than live in his physically helpless state. His struggle for the right to die makes a gripping play, which explores the issues of human dignity and medical ethics with wit and compassion.”
(Taken from Highbury 2009–2010 leaflet)

Plays and Players Best New Play 1978

Photo credits


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