WHEN HARRY MET SHEILA
I didnít want to leave
it alone I was immersed in your world, your life. I think itís a fine
piece of writing and a compelling autobiography.
Sir Arnold Wesker F.R.S.L.
I finished your lovely
book. It packs quite a punch: itís human, humane, funny, sad, wise,
witty, wonderfully self-aware- I enjoyed it hugely.. Itís going on the
shelf with my all-time favourites. Truly.
originally hailed from South Africa, but realizing she couldn't be heard
in England, at the age of seventeen left halfway through a Fine Arts
degree, to study at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. RADA turned
her down, but the Webber Douglas School, being short of funds, was
delighted to accept her. It was here, to the bewilderment of many,
including herself that she won the Margaret Rutherford Award for Comedy.
At last the final term shows loomed large. Agents and casting directors
were invited to marvel at Sheilaís acting skills, setting her on the
first rung of the ladder to stardom. Unfortunately the day before the
performance she developed highly contagious bout of chicken pox.
Three weeks later, now
only itching to begin her chosen career, she browbeat her way into an
agentís office, to be told that she was unlikely to get anywhere until
she reached the age of thirty. But did it discourage her? Yes.
Nonetheless she persevered, and after several jobs in Repertory, some
West End understudying, and a few TV walk-ons, (interspersed with
several odd jobs), (some very), she got her first Big Break, joining
John Cleese and the Two Ronnies in David Frostís THE FROST REPORT.
Comedy had claimed her,
and from then on she worked with (and sometimes against) most of the
well-known TV comics of the sixties. In her own right you may remember
her on TV as Ivy (Yes, Mr Cropper?) Watkins in HOW'S YOUR FATHER. No?
How about The White Lady in THE GHOSTS OF MOTLEY HALL? Alright then, she
made several appearances in THE GOOD OLD DAYS, including that
unforgettable of characters, Little Miss Popsy Wopsy! Forgotten, eh?
Well, how about Miranda, the glamorous literary agent in YOU MUST BE
THE HUSBAND with Tim Brooke Taylor? Tim Brooke...oh come on, you're just
point in mentioning the films she's been in unless you have a quick eye,
so on to just a few of her many acclaimed appearances in the theatre:
As Harpo in A DAY IN HOLLYWOOD A NIGHT IN THE UKRAINE, appearing
opposite Robert Morley in HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES , playing Mistress
Quickly in the Royal Shakespeare Companyís 1985 ground-breaking
production of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, and being in three productions
during the RSCís 1995 season: THE RELAPSE, THE DEVIL'S AN ASS, and
FAUST. Oh, and there was Peter Hall's West End production of SCHOOL FOR
WIVES, and being David Schneiderís mother in his play 'THE ELEVENTH
COMMANDMENTí at the Hampstead Theatre Club . And if that wasnít
impressive enough, she has not one, not two, but THREE one woman shows:
STEAFEL SOLO, STEAFEL XPOSED and VICTORIA PLUMS. Sheís performed them
all over the world: Antibes, Adelaide, Istanbul, Saudi Arabia,
Basingstoke. And she plans to go on doing them. Till she gets them
more information go to www.sheilasteafel.co.uk