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John Burrell, who died in the States on September 28th [1972], was President of The Questors during the eventful years of 1944 to 1951, a period at the beginning of which we were still operating under wartime difficulties, including flying bomb attacks, but were enthusiastically planning our post-war policy, and at the end of which we were actually negotiating to buy the Mattock Lane site. During all this time, when The Questors outward and forward looking policy was becoming formulated and many important steps were being taken to implement it, John was both counsellor and friend. A frequent visitor to Mattock Lane, always ready to help when asked, a source of much wise advice as we planned our future course, we always felt that he cared about The Questors and shared our belief in the work. His criticisms of our productions, delivered to the cast after the performance, were particularly valuable. However devastating those may on occasions have deservedly been, he always inspired the greatest affection from us all.

If those years were exciting ones for The Questors, so were they for the English theatre and John was playing a leading part in the revival which started before the end of the war. Olivier, Richardson and John Burrell were the triumvirate of directors responsible for what The Times recently described as "the most brilliant and adventurous of all the Old Vic Companies in the long history of Lilian Baylis's old theatre". This was at the New Theatre in 1944. The first night of the first production of that first season, Peer Gynt with Richardson as Peer, Sybil Thorn-dike as Aase and Olivier as the Button Moulder, was a landmark in the history of the modern British Theatre, not only because it launched a theatrical enterprise of such brilliance, but because (apart from a relatively short season at the Haymarket with a company led by John Gielgud) it established for the first time in the West End a permanent company playing in true repertoire. It is to be hoped that John's share in this outstanding achievement will not be overlooked by theatre historians because for the past twenty years he has been working in America and out of the English public's eye.

Alfred Emmet