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Obituary: Barry Shaw

Barry Shaw. Photo: Rachel Rogers Barry Shaw. Photo: Rachel Rogers

After setting up his own practice in 1995, Barry Shaw consolidated his reputation as a leading theatre lawyer and regularly appeared in the top echelon of annual league tables of the legal profession.

After reading law at Nottingham University, he began his career with Wright, Webb and Syrett, where he was articled to Oscar Beuselinck. Initially working in litigation and defamation, he soon became known for his expertise in entertainment law and began to specialise in contracts between producers and theatre managements.

Although a senior partner by the time Wright, Webb and Syrett was taken over by Davenport Lyons in 1995, Shaw decided to set himself up as a sole practitioner. He became an increasingly dominant figure, his notable West End productions including Mamma Mia!, which he guided from its premiere at the Prince Edward’s Theatre in 1999 through the various national and international productions that followed.

Shaw was also involved in Bill Kenwright’s national touring revival of Dr Dolittle, starring Tommy Steele, in 2007.

In addition, he served as company secretary to the Greenwich Theatre and the Association of British Theatre Technicians.

A devoted follower of rugby, Shaw had various managerial roles with the Blackheath Football Club – the world’s oldest ‘open’ rugby union team – in Eltham, south-east London.

Barry Shaw was born on January 2, 1941, and died on December 25, 2017, aged 76. He is survived by his long-time partner, Hannelore Zipler.