Archive- Stage

He doesn't get around to doing much of it, but he has done some in the past. Here you'll find information on his stage work.

  • Edith Piaf: Story of a Legend (3-19 November, 1988) -Edith Piaf (December 19, 1915 - October 11, 1963) was one of France's most beloved singers, with much success shortly before and during World War II. Her music reflected her tragic life, with her specialty being the poignant ballad presented with a heartbreaking voice. The most famous songs performed by Piaf were La Vie en Rose (1946), Milord (1959), and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (1960).
    Piaf was written by Pam Gems and first produced at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon on 5 October, 1978. It was produced at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle upon Tyne from 3 - 19 November 1988. Robson played, amongst other characters, the part of Andre Poussé, one of two cyclists Edith met in 1951.
    • The York Mystery Plays (1992)- Many famous actors took the part of Christ over the years. Joseph O'Conor was a most memorable figure in 1951 and 1954; Brian Spink took the role in 1957 followed by Tom Criddle in 1960 and Alan Dobie in 1963. In 1966, E. Martin Browne was asked to return to direct and John Westbrook played Christ, but in 1969 York Corporation had found another local man to direct - Edward Taylor - who decided not to invite a single professional actor - rather to have three York based actors play the part of Christ, God and Judas in rotation: John White, Peter Blanchard and Gerald Lomas.
      The Plays continued outdoors in the ruins of St Mary's Abbey up until 1988. Occasionally an evening show had to be cancelled but the audiences were well used to packing umbrellas, blankets, flasks of tea and took the English summer well in their stride. Technicians grew used to wearing rain macs - and sun tan lotion - and the actors who played the part of Christ loved, or hated, the experience of standing for hours in the increasingly bitter Yorkshire weather as the sun faded behind St Olave's Church and the peacocks screeched their personal farewell to the evening light.
      But circumstances changed and in 1992, York City Council moved the Plays indoors to York Theatre Royal after abandoning plans to stage the Plays as a promenade production in the Museum Gardens. The production, which featured Robson Green as Jesus Christ and was directed by Ian Forrest, was very different to anything seen before. Some applauded the modern, mechanistic direction and music, others felt that the Plays had lost their romance. A second production, directed by John Doyle with local actor Rory Mulvihill, took place in 1996 and the debate raged on.
    • The Beautiful Game (17 July-3 August, 1996)- The idea for Beautiful Game came about in the Baltic, a pub on the banks of the river Tyne in Newcastle upon Tyne, between Robson and Max Roberts. As Robson explains-
      "Max and I sat and talked about our mutual love of football and we reached the same conclusion: it would make a great play. At that time Newcastle were winning the Premier League, with Kevin Keegan at the helm, and a family based drama about the club's history seemed timely. Within an hour we had the outline and rang Michael Chaplin the same night to see if he'd write it. The idea was simply to celebrate football, in particular the relationship between fans and the club. It was also an attempt to explain to non-fans what the game means, why it inspires such loyalty and devotion."
      The play opened on 17 July 1996. The first night was a sell-out and even the whole Newcastle United team attended. Despite this and a good review- it didn't last. The tide had turned against Newcastle United and they were losing games- leaving the way open for Manchester United to take the trophy. What should have been a celebration turned into a period of mourning for Newcastle. Tynesiders suffered and so did the play. Its last performance was on 3 August 1996. [Trying to sort the timeline here: with the season finishing at the end of May and not starting until the end of August, it must be assumed that the play was written in the spring of '96 when NUFC were top of the league, but by the time the play got on the stage, the season was over and Newcastle lost the title. Any corrections to this assumption would be appreciated! -Lorene]
      "In the end it didn't do the business we'd hoped. We couldn't anticipate the fortunes of the club, but there were other problems that we should have been aware of. At the Live Theatre, Max always went to great lengths to involve everyone concerned with promoting a play. On this occasion none of us were part of the process and as a consequence we didn't manage to appeal to the right audience in the right way. We live and learn. For me, and probably for Max, it was a lost opportunity. There was something I wanted to communicate about football and if you don't draw the crowds you can't get the message across. It's an old cliche, but I really believe football is more than a game. For me and many people like me, it's an incredibly emotional experience and a part of life I feel passionately about."