Born: Established: 1936 Birmingham, West Midlands,
David Allen's writing career has incorporated radio, television, film and theatre, with his stage works having been in a number of countries, including Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United States.
Allen was educated at the University of Liverpool, where he completed an honours degree in English, before undertaking employment as a school teacher (1958-1966). Between 1966 and 1970 he worked as an Education Officer in Uganda. His interest in theatre saw him begin directing productions for the Ugandan National Theatre, and he later co-founded Theatre Ltd with African playwright Robert Serumaga. Upon returning to the United Kingdom in 1970 Allen studied directing under Hugh Hunt at the University of Manchester.
In 1972 Allen and his family moved to Australia where he took up the position of lecturer in drama at Adelaide's Salisbury College of Advanced Education (1972-1980). During the mid-to-late 1970s he set about creating a number of locally acclaimed music theatre and non-music theatre works, in addition to co-founding and directing Troupe (1976), an Adelaide-based alternative theatre company. Allen was appointed to the South Australian Theatre Company's Board of Governors in 1978, the same year that Gone with Hardy, his back-handed tribute to Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy), premiered at an Adelaide drama festival. The National Playwright's Conference then accepted the play for a workshop production. Before the end of that same year Gone with Hardy had been staged both by the Melbourne Theatre Company and by Sydney's Nimrod Theatre Company.
From 1980 onwards Allen became a full-time writer, one of his first works being the musical Buckley's (q.v., 1981) which he created in collaboration with Nick Enright, Ariette Taylor (qq.v.) and Glenn Henrich. Allen moved to Sydney in 1982 and two years later won both an Australian Writer's Guild AWGIE Award and a Green Room Award. In 1986 he was the recipient of the Victorian Premier's Award. In addition to writing for the theatre Allen has scripted episodes for some of Australia's most popular drama series, including A Country Practice (1982-85), Home and Away (1988), The Flying Doctors (1989-90), Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (1996), Water Rats (1997), All Saints (1998), Neighbours (1992-01) and Blue Heelers, which ran between 1994 and 2003 (qq.v.).