Robert Lord (playwright)

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Robert Lord
Robert Lord

(1945-07-18)18 July 1945
Rotorua, New Zealand
Died7 January 1992(1992-01-07) (aged 46)
Dunedin, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand

Robert Lord (18 July 1945 – 7 January 1992) was the first New Zealand professional playwright, and the first New Zealand playwright to have plays produced abroad since Merton Hodge in the 1930s.

He was born in Rotorua, and attended Southland Boys' High School and then the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington. In 1969 he won the Katherine Mansfield Young Writers Award, and in 1974 travelled to New York City on an Arts Council travel bursary, where he lived until returning in 1987 to take up the Robert Burns Fellowship in Dunedin. He was involved with several New Zealand theatres, Mercury Theatre, Auckland (writer-in-residence 1974); Circa Theatre and Downstage Theatre, Wellington; and Fortune Theatre, Dunedin (writer-in-residence 1990).

His first full-length play was It Isn’t Cricket (1971), then Meeting Place (1972) Well Hung (1974), Heroes and Butterflies (1974), Glitter and Spit (1975) High as a Kite and Balance of Payments (1978), Country Cops (a revision of Well Hung, 1985) and The Affair (1987). Unfamiliar Steps (1983) was later called Bert and Maisie, and was adapted for television in 1988. His Joyful and Triumphant toured in Australia in 1992 after his death from cancer;[1] it tells the Bishop family story over 40 years in a series of Christmas Day scenes. He also wrote one-act plays, radio plays and screenplays. His plays have been produced or published in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

He died in 1992 (aged 46) from HIV/AIDS complications.[2]


  1. ^ "New Zealand playwright dies of cancer". Otago Daily Times. 1992-08-01.
  2. ^ "Robert Lord". Playmarket. 27 October 2015.
  • Southern People: A dictionary of Otago Southland biography. Longacre Press Dunedin & Dunedin City Council. 1998. p. 285,286. ISBN 1 877135 119.
  • Robinson & Wattie (1998). The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature. Oxford University Press. p. 311,312. ISBN 0-19-558348-5.
  • Sturm, Terry (1998) [1991]. The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English (2 ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp. 357–359. ISBN 0-19-558385-X.
  • "Obituary: Robert Lord". Dominion Sunday Times. 1992-01-26.