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Dallas Morning News, December 6th, 2009

By Kirk Dooley
Kirk Dooley is a University Park writer.


"Shakespeare Man well-versed in imitating The Bard in Park Cities, Texas.

If the man in front you in the Tom Thumb checkout line is William Shakespeare, don't worry. You are not going crazy. You are simply in Highland Park Village or Preston Center.

Robert Clover-Brown, the British actor who is well-known as "Shakespeare Man," lives in University Park. When he is in costume, he looks like, acts like and sounds like the English poet and playwright, even while out shopping. And besides, the real William Shakespeare couldn't be in a Park Cities supermarket. He died almost 400 years ago.

Clover-Brown's one-man show has done a masterful job of bringing Shakespeare, the man behind the words, to life with his upbeat, interactive performances designed for schools, libraries, colleges, regional theatres, conferences, adult groups, corporate events and festivals.

He has also portrayed Shakespeare in television, film and commercial productions.

"In April, I went to Odessa and discovered the very surprising and wonderful Globe of the Great Southwest," said Clover-Brown. "I welcomed 250 students to my theatre, and I offered them the chance to shake the 440-year-old hand of the author of the play they were about to see. The looks on their faces were quite a sight!"

Clover-Brown and his wife, Lesley, moved with their two children, Immy and Jon, to University Park from London in 2002. Robert and the kids are new to America, but Lesley has deep roots here. She is a 1977 graduate of Highland Park High School. Her parents, Jim and Claire Roberts, have served on more local committees, boards and councils than most people probably have. Lesley is John S. Bradfield's great-granddaughter. Last month, her nephew, Tommy Somerville, was married at Highland Park United Methodist Church, where he represents the fifth generation of his family at that church.

When not in costume, Shakespeare Man can be found at his kids' sporting events. Immy is on the successful Highland Park freshman girls basketball team, and Jon is a seventh-grade lacrosse player.

But Clover-Brown is in costume quite a bit these days. This week, he's been to a library convention in Garland and a TAGT conference in Houston, where he made two presentations: "Shakespeare's Intriguing Women" and "Shakespeare and Modern Culture." Next week, he travels to Fort Stockton and Alpine in West Texas. It will be the first time he's been in Fort Stockton since his 1966 solo bus trip across America as a British teenager in search of American adventure.

Since the British actor has been living in the Park Cities with his family, his American adventures have continued. But now he is the adventure, bringing William Shakespeare to life for thousands of Texans."

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