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The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Simon Turner

Simon participated in 28 productions at the Barn.

Simon Turner died in late September and his funeral at Sherwood Forest Crematorium was conducted by his friend and ex Barn Member Val Turner who now lives in Shipley and is a Humanist Celebrant. The Barn was well represented at the ceremony and Steve Thompson delivered part of the eulogy, and John Cook read the lines from The Tempest ‘our revels now are ended.’ just before the Committal.

Having sampled amateur drama at Watford Grammar School Simon joined the National Youth Theatre at 15 as a lighting designer. Our late member Derek Ritchie had recently acquired Festival Workshop, a theatrical hire company (and forerunner of our own Festival Costumes) and employed Simon in the school holidays to service the lighting and sound equipment and assist with shows and musicals all over the country. From there Simon joined Derek’s company The Interluders for productions at The Minack Theatre in the late 1960’s, and then on to lighting for The Hertfordshire Players and Shattered Windscreen at The Minack and the Edinburgh Festival.

Simon was a chemistry teacher in local schools where he also was Head of the Theatre Studies Department and successfully directed many shows and musicals.

At the Barn he was in charge of the Youth Theatre and his achievements here were remarkable. He organised summer workshops (Dream 82) where a play was rehearsed in a week and presented on the last night, and directed two youth productions as part of the main house programme. Oliver in 1982 and Godspell in 1984 were both the best-selling shows of the season, and of the eleven young actors who appeared in the latter eight of them went on to work in the profession. As Steve said at the funeral, Simon was the catalyst and the driving force. He inspired a generation of actors and arts professionals. He was a passionate, stubborn, demanding perfectionist.

He made his mark in our regular programme directing Antony and Cleopatra in 1994 which won the Felixstowe Festival and he was awarded the Best Director prize, and with Romeo and Juliet in 1985. Apart from these successes he was the lighting or sound designer and operator for many of our productions.

Simon and his partner Hamilton moved away to Newark in 2006, and became Civil Partners later that year, which they converted to marriage last year. Sadly by then he had been diagnosed with cancer, and was only 65 when he died.

We extend our deepest sympathy to Hamilton, and Simon will be missed by the many friends whose lives he touched.

 

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Part 1, 18th Jan 8pm

Part 2, 19th Jan 8pm

Parts 1+2 20th Jan 2.30pm

Part 1, 23rd Jan 8pm

Part 2, 24th Jan 8pm

Part 1, 25th Jan 8pm

Part 2, 26th Jan 8pm

Part 1, 27th Jan 2.30pm

Part 2,  27th Jan 8pm