Noel Coward was born in 1899 in Teddington, Middlesex. He made his name as a playwright with The Vortex (1924), in which he also appeared. His numerous other successful plays included Fallen Angels (1925), Hay Fever (1925), Private Lives (1933), Design for Living (1933) and Blithe Spirit (1941). During the war he wrote screenplays such as Brief Encounter (1944) and In Which We Serve (1942). In the fifties he began a new career as a cabaret entertainer. He published volumes of verse and a novel (Pomp and Circumstance, 1960), two volumes of autobiography and four volumes of short stories: To Step Aside (1939), Star Quality (1951), Pretty Polly Barlow (1964) and Bon Voyage (1967). He was knighted in 1970 and died three years later in Jamaica. Emma Rice is the Joint Artistic Director of Kneehigh Theatre. She has directed for Kneehigh The Red Shoes, The Wooden Frock, The Bacchae, Tristan & Yseult, Cymbeline, A Matter of Life and Death, Rapunzel, Brief Encounter and Don John. Rice was nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Director for Brief Encounter.