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Sheppard, Robert

Robert Sheppard

Rosalind Adler

Robert has a long association with the theatre. Way back when he trained as an actor at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, which was absorbed into the Central School of Speech and Drama in 2006. He has a degree in Drama from London University and is a Licentiate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). His professional career has been as a teacher of speech and drama, in connection with which he continued a long association with LAMDA. Although now retired from teaching, he continues to practise his performance skills in the amateur theatre and has considerable experience as an actor and director. High points in this regard have been acting and directing at the world-famous Minack Theatre in Cornwall.

His dramatic writing career began at school, where he wrote several end-of-term ‘entertainments’, gently lampooning members of staff. Since then, as he is the first to admit, his writing has been more episodic than prolific. In the 1970s he co-wrote a completely new Christmas show based on Hans Andersen’s story ‘The Snow Queen’. He contributed to all three aspects of the creative process – book, lyrics and music. The show was successfully performed at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking. Over time, this was followed by three award-winning one-act plays which were performed at the Woking and Guildford Drama Festivals. These plays, published by Stage Scripts, are ‘Gossip’, ‘Marigold’ and ‘Long Away and Far Ago’.

His most successful play, also published by Stage Scripts, is ‘Dame Agatha’s Greatest Case’, a spoof country-house murder mystery with optional songs. The central character is Dame Agatha Crustie, a cantankerous amateur sleuth in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple. The songs are set to well-known tunes by Arthur Sullivan from the popular Savoy Operas, with new lyrics. The play has been widely performed up and down the country as well as in Australia.

Robert was exceptionally busy during the Covid-19 lockdown period, having written a short comedy suspense sketch, two new one-act plays and a long-awaited sequel to ‘Dame Agatha’s Greatest Case’, with some of the same characters and set in the same locale; it is called ‘Dame Agatha and the Little Point Affair’.

Future projects include a new style of pantomime, combining elements of traditional panto with a well-known children’s book, and plays – possibly for a single actor – based on the lives of Edmund Kean and Bram Stoker.

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