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This article is part of the Celebration of Bishopsteignton Women poster series in honour of International Women’s Day 2022! To find out more about this project, visit the project homepage.

Sybil Atkinson lived in Bishopstegnton for a number of years, living on The Orchard in the 1970s. During her life Sybil made a big contribution to the village’s theatrical productions, both appearing on stage, such as in the Bishopsteignton Players’ 1980 production of The Drunkard, by Brian J. Burton, and helping backstage. In 1977, she even stepped in last minute to sort out the props for the Bishopsteignton Players’ production of Midsomer Mink by Peter Coke, when the props master was taken ill.

Sybil also appeared in productions by the Women’s Institute (WI), and was on the Bishopsteignton Children’s Theatre Committee alongside Sheila Robbins.

Sybil Atkinson c1993

Sybil not only enjoyed acting, but was also a talented singer and dancer, and with her partner Midge Gill, won the 1978 and 1979 Teignbridge Senior Citizens’ Talent Competition. Winning in 1978 with a ‘top hat and cane’ song and dance routine, and in 1979 with a partial striptease, dancing to the music ‘The Stripper’!

Sybil was also active in other parts of community life as a member of the WI, Royal British Legion and as a regular participant in the Bishopsteignton Carnival costume competitions. She wore many impressive and amusing costumes over the years, including Lady Godiva and Boy George, wining first prize in the Senior citizens’ fancy dress competition in 1985, as
Grotbag the witch.

As part of Sybil’s legacy to the village, she enriched the Bishopsteignton Heritage Archive Collection with her donated collection of theatrical newspaper cuttings and photographs.

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