David’s first professional production in the UK How to Grow a Guerrilla first toured with the Century Mobile Theatre in 1971. After moving from the Lake District, his writing acquired a strong regional identity in Lancaster and he quickly became recognised as Resident Playwright, drawing people in from all the surrounding areas.
In 1975 David founded Paines Plough, which toured nationally with a group renowned for their abilities as both actors and musicians. He wrote seven plays for Paines Plough, while also writing for other theatres. Two of these plays, Music to Murder By (1976) and Richard the Third Part Two (1977) won Fringe Firsts at the Edinburgh Festival, and went on to play at the National Theatre.
In 1982 David's play Masterclass premiered at Leicester Haymarket with Timothy West, before transferring to the Old Vic Theatre, followed by Wyndhams in the West End. It then travelled to the 1984 Adelaide Festival in Australia before touring the country for two years, culminating at the Sydney Opera House.
Masterclass has been performed in over twenty countries, many of them ex Soviet Territories, including Russia. It ran for up to six years in Finland. To this day Masterclass is widely acknowledged as David's most successful play and is renowned for its portrayal of composers Shostakovich and Prokofiev in the grip of Stalin’s cultural dictatorship.
Since then David has, amongst other things, created dance plays with the Kosh, and has been commissioned to write for the English National Ballet’s principal dancer, Nicholas Johnson (Death of a Faun, 1991, performed at The Royal Opera House & toured internationally). His play, Elgar's Rondo, was commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company in 1993.