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Norman Robbins

Norman Robbins

Norman Robbins, one of amateur theatre's most popular authors wrote his first stage show almost 60 years ago whilst working for the Yorkshire Evening Post. An avid theatre-goer from the age of 3, (his grandparents ran the pub near the local theatre so free tickets were always available) he was equally fascinated by operettas, musical comedies, oratorios, plays and pantomimes. A keen amateur actor and frustrated musician (his pianistic skills never equalled his musical knowledge) he began directing plays age 18.  In his mid 20's he went to drama school and made his professional debut (not counting a childhood appearance with Tod Slaughter) appearing in pantomime with Ken Dodd. Further pantomimes followed interspersed with summer season rep. and plays, along with appearances in a number of television shows.It was during this period that he began writing again and soon had several plays and pantomimes in the Samuel French catalogue. In 1979, he was invited, as a visiting professor, to teach at Iowa State University, where he directed one of his own pantomimes and as a result of which his version of Cinderella became the first pantomime to be staged in New York  for almost 100 years. On his return to Britain he gave a number of lectures on pantomime history and for the next twenty years continued his acting, directing, lecturing and writing career, until after his final pantomime performance as one of the 'Uglys' in 1999, a series of strokes forced his retirement from the stage. During his recuperation he undertook a long held ambition to research and write a book on the evolution of pantomime, which was published in 2002 with the title Slapstick and Sausages.Norman now writes full time, yet still spends much of his time inside theatres, amateur and  professional, where he claims to be happiest. A confirmed technophobe, he refuses to own a mobile phone, use the internet, or pop in an iPod.  He doesn't drive, drinks in moderation (five pints beer a year on average), prefers the company of his wife, family and close friends, loves dogs, cakes, suet puddings, boiled sweets and  toffees, candied fruits, nuts, fish and chips, and hates salads, celebrity chefs and "reality" television. He is seldom to be found without a book or script in his hand, and is in constant demand as an after dinner speaker covering a range of topics from Franz Lehar and The Merry Widow to pantomime.Norman has, to date, written fifteen full length plays, one one act, and twenty three pantomimes, mostly licenced through Samuel French Ltd.


Samuel French Titles by Norman Robbins