Bob Carlton read Drama at the University of Hull and upon graduating won an Arts Council Trainee Director's Bursary to the Belgrade Theatre in his hometown of Coventry. He was Associate Director at the Dukes Playhouse, Lancaster and York Theatre Royal and in 1980 was appointed Artistic Director of London's Bubble Theatre Company. He worked as a freelance theatre director all over the country including directing work at Oxford Playhouse, Newcastle Playhouse, and Liverpool's Everyman Theatre and was the Artistic Director of the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch from 1997 - 2014.
Bob’s writing includes YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE for the Liverpool Everyman, (for whom he also wrote five record-breaking Christmas shows), KEEP ON RUNNING for Birmingham Rep, and FROM A JACK TO A KING, which transferred to The Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End. Bob was perhaps best known for RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET, which won the 1990 Olivier Award for best musical and was nominated for two Outer Critics Circle Awards in New York. Subsequently the show has been seen all over the world, Bob having directed the Australian, Japanese and New York productions. Bob also co-wrote FACE with Bob Eaton, Julian Littman and Phil Whitchurch, which was produced at the Queen’s.
Bob directed the musical LUST at the Haymarket Theatre, London and The Walnut St. Theatre in Philadelphia, where he was nominated for a Barrymore Award as Best Director of a Musical. The show later transferred to The Houseman Theatre in New York. Bob’s directorial work in Philadelphia included HARVEY, SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER and BLOOD BROTHERS.
Bob’s television directing includes BROOKSIDE, EMMERDALE FARM and the award-winning children's series STREETWISE.