In Memory of Sheridan Bramwell

Feature in Issue 15-1 | Spring 2003

One of the leading lights in London’s physical and visual theatre scene, Sheridan Bramwell, died recently. People she worked with share their memories of this influential woman…

From Shaun Glanville

Founder member and Chair of Camden People’s Theatre, where Sheridan Bramwell was artistic director 1994-99

It would be difficult to overstate the impact that Sheridan had on those who knew and worked with her. Her ability to bare down on casual visitors like a Celtic juggernaut and bludgeon them into doing something mundane but essential for CPT was unparalleled, but what really set her apart was that nobody really minded and, in fact, found her persistence rather charming. Those of us who worked with Sheri know that the hours and energy she put into her work were staggering and occasionally guilt-inducing for the rest of us. Her commitment to theatre and experimental performance was unquestionable and demonstrated in the time and support she gave to so many projects. She would blush at the fulsomeness of praise that has been heaped on her since her death, but be cheered to see the theatre which she worked so hard to establish continuing to thrive.

From Paul Murray

CPT founder member and one half of Wishbone

Apart from her role as artistic director of CPT, Sheridan was also a fine comic performer, schooled very much in the Gaulier tradition. I fondly recall acting with her in Baldini’s Supper, when CPT was in its nascent period. Baldini’s Supper was a strange and scrambled bacchanal of a bouffon piece. In the role of ‘sick doctor’ I had to discover and explore various jam doughnuts secreted underneath Sheri’s bumptious character’s party dress, and fling them out into the audience. Oh happy times! And then there was Sheri the artistic director: Sheri’s humour and boundless enthusiasm which held CPT together, along with her wonderful capacity in welcoming and supporting the artists who came through its ramshackle doors.

From Alex Mermikides

CPT company member & Total Theatre editorial group member

A memory of Sheridan Bramwell: For once Sheri has ‘tidied her bedroom’ (her term for getting all the necessary work done), and joins us for a workshop – the game of infectious sleepiness. Five in a row, including Sheri: the first yawns and turns to their neighbour who does likewise, passing ‘slight sleepiness’ down the line. At the end of each row, the sleepiness gets more extreme. It’s hilarious: by the fourth or fifth time down the line, the characters are lolling ludicrously. Sheri goes out of synch and is ‘fast asleep’ before the others, unable to continue the ‘pass’ down the line. We’re all laughing.

From Olivia Jacobs

Former CPT artistic director

On the desk in our office is a blue folder marked ‘Sins’ which holds a mix of things I haven’t yet got round to doing and things I have been purposefully putting off. This is just a small part of the legacy left by Sheri, whose own in-tray was labelled ‘in’, ‘To do’ and ‘Sins’. Whenever I look at my blue folder – I think of her and smile. Sheri – her endless enthusiasm and her overflowing in-box – will be very missed and remembered always.

From Chris Goode

Current CPT artistic director

It might seem strange and presumptuous for me to be writing about Sheri when I never actually met her: and I’ll always regret that we never got to meet face-to-face. But we did meet ear-to-ear, speaking on the phone half a dozen times when I took over the helm of the company in 2001. She wasn’t just being solicitous, she still cared avidly about the place and believed deeply in the ideas that it embodies. During those conversations, a single question from me would often provoke a twenty-minute answer – a technicolor eruption of illuminating advice and anecdote, argument and encouragement – and always that spectacular unsparing humour fizzing away.

Referenced Venues

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-1
p. 9