Richard Shannon is a playwright, radio drama director and lecturer, working mainly in theatre and radio. He read English at New College, Oxford and studied theatre direction at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and teaches radio drama and documentary at Goldsmiths, University of London and playwriting at Warwick University. Richard is the Chair of the Myanmar Group at Goldsmiths. This group is working to create links with arts organisations and universities in Myanmar. He won an International Engagement Fund award at Goldsmiths and has recently returned from a research trip to Myanmar, where significant links were made with the National University of the Arts (Yangon and Mandalay), the National Museum and the theatre company, Arts For All.
In 2021 Richard directed a musical version of Picnic at Hanging Rock by Sue Pearse and Becky Asplin for third year Musical Theatre students at Goldsmiths and in 2019, he directed a new chamber musical about the life of Puccini, Il Letto by Chris Hogg at the Actors' church, Covent Garden.
In 2016 he won an Arts Council Artists' International Development Fund award to work on a new comedy horror musical in both the UK and South Korea. Flatmates V Zombies by Chris Hogg will be performed in London in 2017.
Richard is currently undertaking a PhD at Goldmsiths, focusing on the persecution of the LGBT community in Iran.
In 2015 he finished a full length screen play on the Syrian civil war commissioned by Pearl Productions Ltd. Other projects include a new musical on the Cotton Famine in Lancashire during the 1860s.
In 2010 Richard adapted Smile as They Bow by Nu Nu Yi, an award winning Burmese novelist, for the Burmese Theatre Workshop. The script-in-hand performance took place at the Drill Hall. It is hoped that this production will tour in 2011/12.
In 2008 Richard set up a new production company with Robert Gordon Clark of the London Communications Agency. This collaboration grew out of their work on the launch of St. Pancras International in 2007. The company’s first project was a festival of Opera and War poetry staged at St.Pancras International to mark Remembrance Sunday. The latest project is Olympic Dreamer – the story of the English founder of the modern Olympics – Dr William Penny Brookes. The company aims to stage this large scale project in 2010.
In 2008 Richard was commissioned to rewrite his play – Sabbat – the story of the Pendle witches. This was produced at the Duke’s Theatre, Lancaster in 2009 and was a sell-out. The theatre extended the run for the first time in its history. This production will now be restaged in 2012 to mark the 400th anniversary of the execution of the Pendle witches. It will open at the Dukes and then tour the region for four weeks.
In 2008, Richard wrote a short film to launch the super cruiser Ventura, starring Jonathan Pryce, Samantha Bond, Roger Moore, Peter Firth and Patricia Hodge.
From 1998 to 2008 Richard worked as the Literary Manager and then Associate Director (New Work) at Polka Theatre. His productions at Polka include: Shouting, Stamping, Singing Home by Lisa Evans, Bear Stories by Martin Waddell, Boy the boyhood of Roald Dahl by Mike Kenny, Christmas Carol at the Mansion House, A Palace of Gold by Richard Shannon at the Guild Hall and Dazzling Medusa by Geraldine McCaughrean.
Richard has directed for the BAC, The Cockpit, The Young Vic, Commonstock Theatre Company and a showcase of new work at the Cottesloe (Royal National Theatre).
Richard was Co-director of Independent Radio Drama Productions, based at LBC Radio. His production of Paul Sirett’s Vissi D’Arte was Highly Commended at the Prix Italia. He has directed work by Simon Beaufoy and Martin McDonagh and a number of classic serials for National Public Radio (USA) including The Hound of the Baskervilles starring Edward Petherbridge and Dracula starring Don Henderson and Kenneth Haigh.
For IRDP, Richard has written over 30 radio plays and his stage plays include: Sabbat (The Actors’ Centre), El Salvador Nativity (pub. Christian Aid), Star Gazer (Polka tour to the US) and Going Underground (Commonstock).
His credits as writer/director also include: The Lady of Burma (The story of Aung San Suu Kyi), which premiered at the Old Vic in London and went on to the Assembly Rooms for the Edinburgh Festival 2007, ran in London at the Riverside Studios and toured nationally. The play has been published by Oberon Modern Plays.
In June of 2006, he wrote An Audience with William Barlow (deceased) to celebrate the work of the Victorian Engineer, William Barlow, starring David Calder. It was produced by London and Continental Railways for the Architecture Biennale. Other scripts for LCR include: All Our Hellos and Goodbyes John Betjeman and the saving of St.Pancras starring Julian Glover and the Royal opening of St.Pancras International, starring Timothy West as William Barlow.
Richard has directed four short films and worked as First Assistant Director on the pilot for the feature film, The Legend of Billy the Kid.
In 2005, he directed Chuckwudubelu Preserved of God by Justin Butcher, starring Ben Oka for for BBC Radio 4.