Christopher Fry was the first patron of the Lions part and remained so until his death in 2005
Undoubtedly one of England's great 20th Century verse dramatists, Christopher Fry's wonderful plays are distinguished for their rich language and profound comments on the human condition.
In his early days, Christopher Fry was a schoolmaster, actor and theatre director. He first came to prominence with a one-act jeu d'esprit, A Phoenix Too Frequent, and a religious play about St Cuthman entitled A Boy with a Cart (1937). In 1948 he wrote Thor, with Angels (Canterbury Festival), and in 1950 The Firstborn, with Alec Clunes as Moses. It was, however, with the production, first at the Arts, and later at the Globe Theatre, in 1949, of The Lady's Not For Burning that Fry sprang into the limelight, with John Gielgud heading a distinguished cast. His next play, written for Laurence Olivier, was Venus Observed (1950), and in the same year he translated Anouilh's L'Invitation au Chateau as Ring Around the Moon, with Paul Scofield in the dual role of the twin hero and villain. In 1954 Edith Evans starred in The Dark is Light Enough. Fry had reverted to his earlier biblical vein with A Sleep of Prisoners. It was seen at St. Thomas, Regent Street, in 1951 and after a long tour, frequently revived. In 1955 Fry then translated The Lark, about Joan of Arc, and Curtmantle, about Henry II and Beckett, had its first production. A Yard the Sun was performed at Nottingham in 1970. In 1986 he wrote One Thing More or Caedmon Construed and in 1999 a millennium play for his old school in Bedford, A Ringing of Bells.