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Robert Helpmann: A Rare Sense of the Theatre

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Robert Helpmann: A Rare Sense of the Theatre

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Sir Robert Helpmann was a consummate man of the theatre, equally proficient as dancer or actor, in comedy or tragedy, and as choreographer or director. In this book, Kathrine Sorley Walker surveys a career which spanned more than five decades in multiple disciplines, surely a unique achievement in the annals of theatre. An international career that embraced every aspect of the performing arts established Helpmann as a key figure in 20th century theatre. Born in Australia in 1909 to a family of English and Scottish origins, he was an integral participant, as a principal dancer and choreographer, in the development of British ballet. He also became a leading stage actor and director of plays and operas and had an acknowledged influence, as artistic director and choreographer of the Australian Ballet, on the cultural life of his native country. He was knighted in 1968, and died in Sydney in 1986. A magnetic stage personality, Helpmann’s versatility ranged from Shakespearean tragedy to inspired balletic comedy; a man of acute intelligence, energy and commitment, he is also fondly remembered by many for his incorrigible, and irresistible, sense of humour. Detailed appendices are included covering all Helpmann’s stage, film, and television work.

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