Back to Films

Film Detail

Add to research

The Arbor

  • slideshow_large

The Arbor


The Arbor is the powerful true story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar and her troubled relationship with her daughter Lorraine.

Andrea wrote honestly and unflinchingly about her upbringing on the notorious Buttershaw Estate. When she died, tragically at the age of 29 in 1990, Lorraine was just ten years old.

The Arbor catches up with Lorraine in the present day, also at 29; ostracised from Buttershaw and now in prison, serving a sentence for manslaughter for the death of her son.

Whilst in prison and undergoing rehab, Lorraine is re-introduced to her mother's plays and private letters and as she reflects on the parallels in their lives, she begins to come to terms with her role in the death of her son.

Clio Barnard, began recording audio interviews with Lorraine Dunbar, other members of the Dunbar family and residents from the Buttershaw Estate over a period of two years. The material was edited to form an audio 'screenplay' which forms the basis for the film as actors lip-synch to the voices of the interviewees. This footage is intercut with archive footage and extracts from a re-staging of Andrea's first play.


Type of film
Running Time
88 mins
4K Digital
Clio Barnard 1st Feature
Michael Morris
Michael Morris
Nick Fenton, Daniel Goddard
Director of Photography
Ole Birkeland
Production Designer
Matt Button
Tim Barker
Harry Escott, Molly Nyman
Principal Cast
Manjinder Virk, Christine Bottomley, Neil Dudgeon, Jimi Mistry, Kathryn Pogson, Natalie Gavin, Danny Webb, George Costigan

Please let us know if we need to make any amendments to this Film entry mailing us directly at

Last updated 6th December 2009

Production Company

Arbor Films Ltd
31 Eyre Street Hill
London EC1R 5EW

T+44 (0)20 7713 1400


Wavelength Pictures
24 Alexandra Grove / Apt 4
London N4 2LF

T +44 (0)7968 772 792
F +44 (0)20 8809 0318