British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database
Involved in 2 productions. Has worked with 25 other people in this database.
Norman Beaton was born in Georgetown, Guyana and began his first career by training at the Government Teachers' Training College in Guyana. He emigrated to the UK in 1960 and would become the first black teacher to be employed by the Liverpool Education Authority. While in Liverpool, he made appearances at the city's famous Cavern Club and wrote a play for the Liverpool Everyman, Jack of Spades, which was a hit. He turned to music, becoming the music director at the Bristol Old Vic before finally turning to acting in the late 1960s. He published his autobiography, Beaton But Unbowed, in 1986. Shortly before his death, he was cast to play King Lear in Talawa's production; he became terminally ill and was unable to play the role. As Yvonne Brewster recalled in 2016, "Norman came with me to see the production before he died. We slipped in at the back and I held his hand. He was weeping – and at the interval, he said, 'I can’t see the end. This is my play. I wanted before I died to do Lear.'"