Educating Rita: Society, Education and Self-Reflection


Educating Rita is a play written by Willy Russell, an English playwright from Liverpool. It was voted ‘Best Comedy of the Year’ when performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1980. By 1983 it had risen to be the fourth most popular play on the British stage. In the same year it was transformed into a film and won the BAFTA Best Film Award as well as Academy Award nominations, proving its appeal and popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. This paper aims at introducing Willy Russell’s work to fresh audience, especially students who are looking for reasons to acquaint themselves with English literature and teachers whose interests lie in finding materials that will help answer their students why we need such liberal education as literature. The study gives an overview analysis of the interplay between society and literature exposed in the story of Rita’s education. It also explores the possibilities of adapting the literary allusions in the play into real-life education, with the all-presumptive assertion that ‘If Rita can do it, so can we.’ The exploration looks first into Rita’s working-class background and its effects on her education and then into means by which Rita’s ways of education, liberal education, can benefit students of all social backgrounds. * Dr.Usa Padgate is currently an English instructor in Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, Naresuan University.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Padgate2011EducatingRS, title={Educating Rita: Society, Education and Self-Reflection}, author={Usa Padgate and Willy Russell}, year={2011} }