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David Gooderson: Playwright, Actor
Drama Tutor

The Castaway One-man play.

About the poet William Cowper

About the Stage Play


Dissolute law student, ‘hellfire’ preacher, witty poet, manic depressive: The Castaway charts the life of poet William Cowper (1731-1800) who wrote John Gilpin, one of the most celebrated comic ballads in the English language and one of the most beautiful hymns, “God moves in a mysterious way”. But he was filled with such manic self-loathing that he was driven almost to suicide and died in lonely despair.


David Gooderson made the man and his writing come alive completely

The Stage

An ideal subject for intimate theatre…his dramatisation of John Gilpin was highly amusing and enjoyable

Derby Evening Telegraph

A memorable evening indeed!

Northampton Chronicle


This one-man play was first performed by David Gooderson at the Merton Festival, London, in May 1974.

David adapted and performed a shortened version on BBC television in February 1975.

David performed the play more than 60 times in venues up and down the country, including a three-week run at Upstream Theatre in London, in 1978.


The Castaway was written by David Gooderson.


The play is based entirely on William Cowper’s poems and letters.

William Cowper & John Gilpin

William Cowper, by Romney (National Portrait Gallery, London)John Gilpin by William Cowper. Illustrated by Ronald Searle

For brief details, rest mouse over image

Performing Rights

For all enquiries about performing rights, whether professional or amateur, contact David’s Literary Agent:

Mike Sharland at The Sharland Organisation via…

No public performance of this play can be given unless a licence is obtained before rehearsals begin.

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