Born in Bristol, and educated at Bedford Modern School, he was a schoolmaster before being appointed director of Tunbridge Wells Repertory Players (1932-36). In 1940 he became director of the Playhouse at Oxford, having in the meantime written two pageant plays, Thursday's Child and The Tower (1939), and also The Boy with a Cart (1937), a rustic play on the subject of the Sussex saint, Cuthman. After service in the Non-Combatant Corps during World War II he began a series of outstanding plays in free verse, often with religious and mystic undertones, including A Phoenix too Frequent (1946), The Lady's Not for Burning (1949), Venus Observed (1950), A Sleep of Prisoners (1951), The Dark is Light Enough (1954),Curtmantle (1962) and A Yard of Sun (1970). Other publications include One More Thing, or Caedman Construed (1987). He also produced highly successful translations of Jean Anouilh and Jean Giraudoux.