Shaun McKenna is an award-winning playwright, screen writer, lyricist and adaptor.
Shaun is writing a 5-part series called Eleanor Rising for BBC Radio 4, to be broadcast in 2020. He worked with Lin Coghlan on an 11-episode Arnold Bennett series, China Towns, broadcast in 2019, and on The Forsytes (2016-17). Shaun was one of the core writers on the epic BBC Radio 4 drama series Home Front, about life in Britain during World War I, which ran in real time from August 4th 2014 to November 11th 2018. He was show runner/lead writer on Seasons 3, 6 and 12. Previous BBC radio adaptations include John le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, The Looking Glass War and A Murder of Quality. Other BBC adaptations include East of Eden, Brother Dusty Feet, East of Eden, Marnie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Cry of the Owl and To Serve Them All My Days.
Shaun has written the Book and original lyrics for the forthcoming new musical Being Jack Cole, collaorating with Guy Kitchenn and Broadway legend Chet Walker. Shaun previously worked with Chet on the Glenn Miller musical Feelin' In The Mood, which is heading for production.
He has written lyrics for Celtic Warrior, collaborating with Marti Pellow, Jack Bradley and Grant Mitchell, which is in development with Bill Kenwright Productions. He has written the lyrics for Are You As Nervous As I Am? (Music by Leighton James House, Book by Simon Spencer) which opens in Greenwich in autumn 2020.
He has had four previous West End musicals, most notably the stage version of The Lord of the Rings for which he wrote Book and Lyrics with Matthew Warchus. Earlier West End musicals include Maddie (Book & Lyrics), Lautrec (Book, Music by Charles Aznavour) and La Cava (Additional Lyrics). He wrote The Ovation with lyricist Maribeth Derry and composer Patrick Leonard, and the Book for Last Dance, a disco musical based on the songs of Paul Jabara, which tried out in New York in 2012. He wrote Book and Lyrics for Heidi which proved a huge success in Switzerland and Germany and produced two sequels, all with music by Stephen Keeling, his regular collaborator. Shaun also wrote Book and Lyrics for two 5-star Edinburgh Festival hits, Murder Mystery Musical and Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind.
Plays include the Peter James adaptations, The Perfect Murder (UK tours, 2014 & 2016), Dead Simple (UK Tour 2015) and Not Dead Enough (UK Tour 2017) and The House On Cold Hill (UK Tour 2019). He is currently adapting Looking Good Dead for production in 2021. In 2012, Shaun wrote the multi-award-winning stage adaptation of Ladies in Lavender which toured the UK. Earlier plays include Killing Camille, Ruling Passions, Meeting Jack, Me And Little Boots and adaptations of How Green Was My Valley and To Serve Them All My Days.
Shaun has recently completed an original screenplay, Oscar's Boys, and is developing a period espionage drama Agent 160 and a detective series Echoes. Previous credits include a feature length thriller for ITV, The Crooked Man, and an acclaimed two-part thriller, Like Father, Like Son. He was a regular contributor to the three final series of Heartbeat and was the writer/researcher on Great West End Theatres with Sir Donald Sinden. He has contributed occasional episodes to Doctors.
Shaun first worked with acclaimed US director Philip Wm. McKinley on Ben Hur Live at the O2 arena in 2009. It subsequently played the Fiera di Roma in 2011. Recently Shaun and Philip have been exploring the possibilities of the Arena Show and the first of several collaborations, The Bible: In The Beginning, is in development.
Shaun studied at Maidstone Grammar School and the University of Bristol.
Follow the link for a complete list of Shaun's credits .
PLAYWRIGHT, SCREEN WRITER, LYRICIST, LIBRETTIST
Awards and Nominations
Home Front won Outstanding Contribution to Radio Drama Award 2019 at the BBC Audio Awards.
Ladies in Lavender won five Broadway World UK awards (including Best Fringe or Regional Play) in 2012.
The Lord of the Rings won a Best Musical DORA (Dora Mavor Moore Award) in Canada in 2006 (one of seven awards the show received), was Olivier Award nominated for Best Musical in 2007 and in the same year won an Outstanding Achievement Award from SOBOM.
Shaun's first episode of Heartbeat, "One Small Step", won a Royal Television Society Yorkshire: Best Drama Award in 2008.
Heidi: Teil 2 was nominated for a Prix Walo Award in 2008.