10 Questions for Lawrence Waddy, Playwright, author and former chaplain at The Bishop’s School


Lawrence Waddy was born in Sydney, Australia. During the war, Waddy’s father was a chaplain in the Australian Army. He took Waddy’s family to live in Jerusalem in 1919. There was no school, but plenty of adventures and people to meet. At age 7, Waddy was cast as Puck in the first Shakespeare play ever performed in Jerusalem.

Waddy’s schooling was in England, ending at Oxford University, where he won five scholarships in Greek and Latin, and played many sports. He began teaching at Winchester College in 1938, joined the National Fire Service and also prepared for ordination as an Anglican priest. Waddy served as a Navy chaplain from 1942 to 1946 and as headmaster of Tonbridge School from 1949 to 1962.

From 1963 to 1967, Waddy was the chaplain at The Bishop’s School. He also served in different capacities at St. James by-the-Sea, and started a mission in University City, which is now the Church of the Good Samaritan. He was a lecturer in Greek, Latin and humanities at UCSD from 1969 to 1980.

Waddy has written about 200 plays and as many songs. He has also published many books. He and his wife live in La Jolla.

Q: What brought you to La Jolla?

The offer of the post of chaplain at The Bishop’s School.

Q: What makes La Jolla special to you?

Opportunities for exciting work and the wide range of interesting people.

Q: Who or what inspires you?

My faith, our country and the challenges and opportunities we face.

Q: If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

Reduce traffic, but how?

Q: If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Perhaps Moses, Jesus, Socrates, Jane Austen, Queen Elizabeth, Lincoln, Gandhi and Churchill.

Q: What do you do for fun?

I read and act in plays with children.

Q: What is your most prized possession?

Hard to say. A black stole, worn by my father with the insignia of an Australian Army chaplain, and by me with the British Navy equivalent. Letters from some amazing people who live all over the world.

Q: What are you currently reading?

I’m rereading Homer’s “The Odyssey” in Greek, Shakespeare’s “The Life of Timon of Athens” and thrillers by Dick Francis.

Q: Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Suddenly thinking up a song. The song “Who Am I,” which I wrote for a play I also wrote, was written in 30 minutes. I sang it at my 94th birthday party, which was held at the La Jolla Country Club recently.

Q: What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Don’t waste a day - there are so many wonderful challenges.