Ian Stephenson | Composer & Lyricist
Ian is a composer, performer and teacher. Since graduating in music in the early ’90s, he has conducted and played for innumerable theatre companies throughout the Midlands, deriving much pleasure from working closely to support many students who now hold places at London Stage Schools and the world of professional theatre.
His first musical, The 3 of Us, written with Tom Allsopp, is a self-penned story of modern relationships which reached the live stages of the ‘Search For A Twitter Composer’ at the Soho Theatre in July 2013 and has had sellout runs at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton and the Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham since then.
Ian is currently writing a musical about Patrick Fowler, a First World War Hussar who was cut off behind enemy lines in 1914 and spent 4 years hidden by a French lady – in her wardrobe! With a working title Wardrobe Musical, it tells of their bizarre heroics as the house is taken over by Germans as a billet. Having successfully been hidden in this way until the German retreated in 1918, he was almost shot as a spy by his own side! Ian is delighted to be in close contact with Patrick’s surviving granddaughter, Edith Cook, a music teacher from Scotland.
He hopes you are as enthused as he and Adrian have become for this incredibly untold true story.
Wardrobe Musical | Ian Stephenson & Adrian Kimberlin
In 1914, Patrick Fowler of the 11th Hussars was cut off from the battle of Le Cateau and spent 5 demoralising months hidden in a forest. He tried to give himself up in a local village when Germans pulled back but was taken in and hidden by a French family in the village of Bertry, Northern France. However, within days the house was taken over as a billet for German troops. Fowler was hidden by the french family for FOUR YEARS inside the wardrobe of the family home – a two-up, two-down cottage. He succeeded in hiding there for the duration of the war but his wife, Edith, received a telegram on Christmas Eve 1915, over a year after his disappearance, stating he was “accepted as dead for official purposes” as the army did not know of his whereabouts.
Going out of his mind, Fowler dressed up as a woman in the dead of night and managed to evade sentries to visit a pal also hidden in the village. He was also transported inside the wardrobe by the French family across the village when the Germans requisitioned the whole house for their own purposes. Midway through transporting the wardrobe, they were stopped by a German patrol – and instead of finding Fowler inside they actually helped move the wardrobe to its new resting place!
His drama did not end there – when the Germans pulled back at the end of the war, Fowler marched down the road to on-rushing Allies and was met by a South African regiment. He was immediately arrested and charged with being either a spy or deserter! They interrogated him but could not Court Martial him so he was passed onto the British. Instead of death, he was recognised by the first British soldier to lay eyes on him for 4 years: His Captain from 1914!