Carmen Munroe

Last updated 09 January 2020

Carmen Munroe
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Carmen Munroe

Born: Saturday 12th November 1932 (age: 89)


Carmen Munroe OBE is a British actress, born in BerbiceGuyana

Since the early 1950s she has been a resident of the UK. She made her West End stage debut in 1962 and has since played an instrumental role in the development of black British theatre and representation on small screen. She has had high-profile roles on television in The Fosters (1976�77), Mixed Blessings (1978�80), both on ITV, and on stage in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the SunAlice Childress's Trouble in Mind and James Baldwin's The Amen Corner.

She is however best known for her role as Shirley, the wife of eponymous barber Desmond Ambrose, played by Norman Beaton, in the British TV sitcom Desmond's (1989 to 1994), written byTrix Worrell.

Some of her other roles include a part in the 1967 Doctor Who story The Enemy of the World; a part in General Hospital; and she was for a time a presenter of Play School.

She is one of the founders of Talawa, the UK's leading black theatre company, which she established in 1985 together with Mona Hammond, Inigo Espegel and Yvonne Brewster.

In 2005/06 she acted in a series of three African American plays at the Tricycle TheatreKilburn. The plays were Walk Hard written by Abram Hill and directed by Nicholas Kent, followed by Gem of the Ocean, written by August Wilsonand directed by Paulette Randall, where Munroe acted in the role of Aunt Esther Tyler, and finally Lynn Nottage's Fabulation, directed by Indhu Rubasingham. Most recently, she acted in Allister Bain's play Catalysta, directed by Robert Icke, receiving rave reviews for her performance as Eartha.