Beard, Robina (1938-)

NLA Persistent Identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-1479497

Biographies

Robina Beard OAM was born at Twickenham, England in 1938 and around the age of six began dancing classes with Kate Walker at Weybridge. After migrating with her parents to Sydney in 1949 she continued training in the Cecchetti Method at Estelle Anderson's studio in Rowe Street, Sydney.

In 1955, Beard received her first professional contract with JC Williamson's to dance in the musical Can-Can, which toured Australia and New Zealand for 18 months. Within three years Beard became a regular performer at the Phillip Street Theatre, first in children's plays such as Alice in Wonderland, as the March Hare, and the touring musical, The Willow Pattern Plate. In 1959-60 she made her first appearances in a Phillip Street revue Hey Diddle Diddle and several television and variety programs such as ATN 7's Tonight Show and television specials with outstanding comedians Stan Freberg from the United States in 1959 and Benny Hill from the United Kingdom in 1960. Subsequently she appeared in several productions for children: A Ride on a Broomstick (1960) and A Wish is a Dream at Phillip Street, and Alice in Wonderland for Noel Ferrier Productions, Melbourne, both in 1961-62. Her first speaking role came in JC Williamson's The Sentimental Bloke and in Irma la Douce she understudied and played the lead role. Back in Sydney in 1963 Beard appeared in Flaming Youth, an original Australian play and the revue Do you mind at Phillips Street.

A move to Melbourne in 1965 took Beard into prime time television. At GTV9 she became the channel's first 'weather girl' for two years and for three years a regular on In Melbourne Tonight as singer, dancer and choreographer. She also starred in Australia's first situation comedy for television, Barley Charlie. During a working holiday in Canada in 1966 she appeared in the CBC networks' reviews and variety shows Nightcap and Three Way and a six-month tour in the revue Spring Thaw. Beard's television acting roles have been equally diverse, ranging from the early runaway success No. 96 (1975-76) to Arcade (1981), G.P. (1991), Gotcha (1991), Going Home (2010), Home and Away and All Saints (2001.)

On returning to Australia in 1967, Robina Beard cemented her career in all styles of performance, beginning with the original Australian musical, Hail Gloria Fitzpatrick, which she also choreographed. It was the same year she played 'Madge the Manicurist' in a Palmolive detergent commercial which made her an Australian television icon. Two 1968 projects took her in opposite directions when she performed and worked as director's assistant on The Boyfriend with Sandy Wilson at Phillip Street, and the Ronne Arnold Contemporary Dance Company in Sydney which toured Queensland and New South Wales for three years.

The 1970s were well served by small theatre venues and cabarets in Sydney and provided Beard opportunities to perform, choreograph and direct new productions. These include theatre restaurant shows at the Manly Music Loft for famous actors Ruth Cracknell, Gloria Dawn and Ronnie Frazer, Anything Goes and Filth at the Richbrook Theatre, Brian Syron's production of Dimboola at Bonaparte's, Nuclear at the Metro Theatre and The Stripper by Richard O'Brien for the Sydney Theatre Company at Kinsela's night club. Others include The Ripper Show for the NIDA Theatre Company and The Fantastics at the Bondi Pavilion. In traditional venues, Beard appeared in O Sir Henry at the Athenaeum, Melbourne and Alice in Wonderland at the Seymour Centre.

Major Broadway and West End fare gave Beard opportunities to stage, direct and choreograph musicals and, occasionally, to perform, as she did in Sydney Theatre Company's famous Chicago (1981.) Her production vehicles included Side by Side by Sondheim, Leading Lady for Jill Perryman, Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Sesame Street Live, Sugar Babies, Paddington Bear, Robin Hood, Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, 42nd Street and many others.

Original Australian writing has always been important to Robina Beard and in the 1980s and 1990s she worked on productions for diverse audiences and organisations. These include Forests of the Night, a prose, dance, song production for secondary schools (1994), Portrait of a Rosella for the Precious Heritage exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum (1999) and Tales of Kabbarli, playing Daisy Bates, for several galleries (2002-2007). Outstanding among the new works were two plays directed by the Aboriginal dancer, director and choreographer Noel Tovey; Beard was associate director on both plays. The first, The Aboriginal Protestors (1996), was based on German writer Heiner Mueller's play Die Auftrug, subtitled Memory of a Revolution, and text by Aboriginal writer Mudrooroo. This was performed by Aboriginal actors at the Performance Space during the 1996 Sydney Festival and performed to great acclaim at the Weimar and Munich Festivals later that year. The second was Tovey's one-man play derived from his published autobiography, Little Black Bastard, in Melbourne and Sydney in 2003.

Throughout her long career, Robina Beard has never been far from the dance studio and life-long education. Recognising that ballet would not be her forte, she gravitated to teaching in the theatre. She also taught at NAISDA Dance College and The Australian Ballet School, and produced art-related educational entertainments at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. She later returned to study and gained a Master of Creative Arts in Theatre at Wollongong University, where she also taught. From 1983 until the last concert in 2004 Beard ran her own dance school in St. Michael's Hall in Kingsford, Sydney. She did, however, return to the ballet stage three times. In 1997 she was enticed to dance a comic version of the Dying Swan for the Australian Dance Awards and in 2000 played one of the Russian emigre dancers is Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker with The Australian Ballet. In 2002 she devised a dance for herself, The Veil, at the Bodies season at the Newtown Theatre.

Beard's commitment to raising the standards in dance and theatrical performance is reflected in her leadership as National President of the Australian Cecchetti Society - now the self-governing Cecchetti Ballet Australia - President of Ausdance NSW, and Chair of the Australian Dance Awards. In January 2011 Beard received the Medal of the Order of Australia 'For service to the arts, particularly through dance.' In July the Australian Dance Awards committee honoured her with a Life Time Achievement Award.

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Resources for Robina Beard

Resources by Robina Beard (1)

  1. Robina Beard interviewed by Michelle Potter
    Beard, Robina, 1938-
    [ Sound : 2005 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 12.819)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 12.819)

Resources about Robina Beard (3)

  1. Robina Beard interviewed by Michelle Potter
    Beard, Robina, 1938-
    [ Sound : 2005 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 12.478)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 12.478)

  2. Portraits of Robina Beard taken during an oral history interview by Michelle Potter at the National Library of Australia, 12 September 2005 / Loui Seselja
    Seselja, Loui, 1948-
    [ Photograph : 2005 ]
    View online
    At National Library
    Portraits of Robina Beard taken during an oral history interview by Michelle Potter at the National Library of Australia, 12 September 2005 / Loui Seselja
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 9.887)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 9.887)

  3. Portrait of Robina Beard at the National Library of Australia, 12 September 2005 / Loui Seselja
    Seselja, Loui, 1948-
    [ Photograph : 2005 ]
    View online
    At National Library
    Portrait of Robina Beard at the National Library of Australia, 12 September 2005 / Loui Seselja
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 5.787)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 5.787)

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  1. Arts
    Arts
    Created by sanguyen, 15 items.

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  1. Arnold, Ronne
    ... assistant artistic director for three years from 1968 was Robina Beard, who ...
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  2. Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre
    ... with the company include Ronne Arnold, Robina Beard, Elisabeth Burke ...
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  3. Tovey, Noel
    ... same name, directed by his lifelong friend Robina Beard, in which he tells stories ...
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  1. Portraits of Robina Beard taken dur...
    Seselja, Loui, ...
    [ Photograph : 2005 ]
    Portraits of Robina Beard taken during an oral history interview by Michelle Potter at the National Library of Australia, 12 September 2005 / Loui Seselja
  2. Portrait of Robina Beard at the Nat...
    Seselja, Loui, ...
    [ Photograph : 2005 ]
    Portrait of Robina Beard at the National Library of Australia, 12 September 2005 / Loui Seselja
  3. Nine's Jill-of-all-trades, Robina B...
    Herald and Week...
    [ Photograph : 1965 ]
    Nine's Jill-of-all-trades, Robina Beard, ... ..
  4. Robina Beard and her brother, Chris...
    Herald and Week...
    [ Photograph : 1965 ]
    Robina Beard and her brother, Chris, get together to discuss plans for the "IMT" they will host on Thursday night, July 29, while Jimmy Hannan is overseas ... ..
  1. The songs of a sentimental bloke / by C.J. Dennis
    Dennis, C. J. (Clarence James), 1876-1938
    [ Book, Article : 1915-2012 ]
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    At 106 libraries
    The songs of a sentimental bloke / by C.J. Dennis
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  2. The rise of American civilization / by Charles A. Beard & Mary R. Beard, decorations by Wilfred Jones
    Beard, Charles Austin, 1874-1948
    [ Book : 1927-1968 ]
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  3. A history of business / by Miriam Beard
    Beard, Miriam, 1901-
    [ Book : 1938-1963 ]
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  4. The time machine / H.G. Wells
    Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946
    [ Book, Audio book, Article : 1895-2012 ]
    Languages: English, Thai, French, [7 others]
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    The time machine / H.G. Wells
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    Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946
    [ Book, Audio book, Article : 1895-2012 ]
    Languages: English, Thai, French, [7 others]
    Read online at Open Library/Internet Archive
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    At 107 libraries
    The time machine / H.G. Wells
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  2. He knew he was right / Anthony Trollope ; edited by P.D. Edwards
    Trollope, Anthony, 1815-1882
    [ Book, Article, Microform : 1800-2014 ]
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    He knew he was right / Anthony Trollope ; edited by P.D. Edwards
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  3. Memories of a pioneer [The tour of the contemporary dance company of the back American choreographer Ronne Arnold through the country towns of rural New South Wales and Queensland in 1967 and 1968]
    Beard, Robina
    Dance Australia
    [ Article : 2010 ]
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  4. The deerslayer ; or The first war-path / by James Fenimore Cooper ; afterword by Allan Nevins
    Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851
    [ Book, Audio book, Microform : 1841-2013 ]
    Languages: English, Russian, German, Dutch
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    The deerslayer ; or The first war-path / by James Fenimore Cooper ; afterword by Allan Nevins
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    Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946
    [ Book, Audio book, Article : 1895-2012 ]
    Languages: English, Thai, French, [7 others]
    Read online at Open Library/Internet Archive
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    At 107 libraries
    The time machine / H.G. Wells
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.183)

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  2. Women of power : playing it by their own rules / Gael Knepfer ; photographs by Colin Beard
    Knepfer, Gael
    [ Book, Audio book : 1990-1992 ]
    At 49 libraries
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  3. Daniel Deronda
    Eliot, George, 1819-1880
    [ Book, Audio book, Microform : 1800-2012 ]
    Languages: English, German, French, Undetermined
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    At 101 libraries
    Daniel Deronda
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  4. A Moody Christmas
    Australian Broadcasting Corporation
    [ Video : 2012 ]
    At 26 libraries
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  1. Website: Australia dancing
    www.australiadancing.org
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  2. Website: milesago - Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964-1975
    www.milesago.com
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  3. Website: Art Gallery NSW
    www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au
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    • Archives - Belle- le Performance - 30/4/2005
    • ... with Monet and Matisse. Writer: Geoffrey Sykes; Director: Robina Beard; Actor: Peter McAllum. Free with exhibition entry...
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  1. [Biographical cuttings on Robina Beard, comedy actress, theatre director, dancer, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
    [ Published : 1900-1990 ]
    At National Library
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  2. Plain tales from the hills / by Rudyard Kipling
    Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
    [ Book, Audio book, Published, Microform : 1800-2011 ]
    Languages: English, French
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    At 61 libraries
    Plain tales from the hills / by Rudyard Kipling
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  3. [Phillip Street Theatre : programs and related material collected by the National Library of Australia]
    [ Published : 1900 ]
    At National Library
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  1. The Iliad
    Homer
    [ Book, Microform, Audio book, Article : 1560-2014 ]
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    The Iliad
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  2. The hobbit, or, There and back again / by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Tolkien, J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel), 1892-1973
    [ Book, Audio book : 1900-2014 ]
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    The hobbit, or, There and back again / by J.R.R. Tolkien
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  3. Kim / by Rudyard Kipling
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  1. THEATRE Polished versatility FILTH - THE CLEANEST SHOW IN TOWN. Written by John McKellar. Directed by Robina Beard and John McKellar. Tuesday to Saturday at 8.15.
    The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) Wednesday 23 June 1971 p 3 Article
    ... THEATRE Polished versatility by GILLIAN OXFORD FILTH - THE CLEANEST SHOW IN TOWN. Written by John McKellar. Directed ected by Robina Beard and John McKellar. Tuesday to Saturday at 8.15. THIS is a ... operatic at times. Robina Beard is full of character and life, wearing one head of curls after another. ... 431 words
    This resource is likely to be relevant to your query (score: 1.032)

    This resource is likely to be relevant to your query (score: 1.032)

  2. PREPARING FOR FANTASY
    The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) Wednesday 22 October 1958 p 1 Article Illustrated
    ... PREPARING FOR FANTASY Members of the "Willow Pattern Plate" cast make up for their exotic roles before their performances at the Albert Hall last night. Lady Nightingale (Joyce Simmons) is being given some final touches by Silver Bell (Beryl) Marshall), while a dancer (Robina Beard), slightly ... 57 words
    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.019)

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.019)

  3. Family Notices
    The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Monday 20 March 1939 p 8 Family Notices
    ... BIRTHS BEARD (nee Stewart). -On the 12th March, at Gwandalan private hospital, Bairnsdale, to Mr. and Mrs. S. Beard of Lindenow -a son. (Both well.) FILGATE. -On the 17th ... loving father of Helen aged 51 years -Rest after weariness GIBB. -On the 17th March, Dora Robina, dearly ... 3992 words
    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.015)

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.015)