Yvonne Brewster

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Yvonne Brewster, OBE, is a Jamaican-born stage director, teacher and writer. She also co-founded the theatre companies Talawa in the UK and the Barn in Jamaica.[1]


Born in Jamaica, Yvonne Brewster went to the UK to study drama in the mid-1950s at the Rose Bruford College - where she was the UK's first Black woman drama student[1] - and the Royal Academy of Music. She returned to Jamaica to teach Drama and in 1965 she also jointly founded (with Trevor Rhone) The Barn in Kingston, Jamaica's first professional theatre company.[2]

Upon her return to England she worked extensively in radio, television, and directing for Stage Productions. In 1985 she co-founded Talawa Theatre Company with Mona Hammond and Carmen Munroe, using funding from the Greater London Council.


In 1993, she was awarded an Order of the British Empire for Services to the Arts in the Queen’s New Years Honours list; and in 2001 she was granted an honorary Doctorate from the Open University.


In 2004, Brewster published her memoirs, entitled The Undertaker’s Daughter: The Colourful Life of a Theatre Director (Arcadia Books). She has also edited five collections of plays, including Barry Reckord's For the Reckord (Oberon Books, 2010)[3] and Mixed Company: Three Early Jamaican Plays, published by Oberon Books in 2012.[4]


  1. ^ a b Simon Reade, "Pioneer with a vision of black theatre", New Straits Times, 23 August 1992.
  2. ^ Notes on contributors, in Geoffrey V. Davis, Anne Fuchs (eds), Staging New Britain: Aspects of Black And South Asian British Theatre Practice, Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang, 2006, p. 337.
  3. ^ "Yvonne Brewster - Reckord Celebrations", News - Talawa Theatre Company, 7 September 2012.
  4. ^ "RBC Fellow Yvonne Brewster OBE edits new Jamaican play anthology", Rose Bruford College, 9 August 2012.

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