ANTONY BRIDGES (d.2005)
Following a long battle with cancer, Antony Bridges passed away at Trinity Hospice in Clapham on Tuesday 20th December 2005.
Many at The Questors will remember Antony both on the lighting desk and constructing sets over the last few years. Among his contributions were Season’s Greetings, A Little Hotel on the Side, The Herbal Bed, King Lear, Translations, The Balcony and most recently The Merchant of Venice; contributions which many of us were hoping would continue for many years, until we learnt of his untimely illness and death at the age of just 41.
He was one of those rare individuals who could make any task backstage appear easy and would always emerge as the master of anything he attempted. But his was talent hidden by both quiet efficiency and immense modesty. His professional experience in theatre and TV was immense, but for him was always just part of doing a great job whether he was paid for it or not.
Born and bred in Ipswich, Antony moved to London in 1982 to study Physics at Imperial College in South Kensington. He rapidly immersed himself in the Drama Society there and within a year was one of the main ‘Techies’. His involvement with DramSoc resulted in an unplanned gap year during his course which he spent working for Theatre Projects Lighting, then at Blundell Street. He ultimately returned to Imperial to finish off his degree before re-joining Theatre Projects for a further 18 months.
From TP, he joined Strand Lighting's service department in 1990, spending the next five years travelling the world commissioning new installations or servicing existing installations of Galaxy, Gemini, EC90 and LP90. His expertise in LP90s resulted in a two year stint at Strand France where the LP90 was very popular, particularly at the newly opened Euro Disney theme park.
Antony joined White Light in 1995 to head up their newly formed Service Company, building and leading a team able to support just about any lighting control product. After five years with White Light he decided that lighting desks had become too reliable and didn't present enough of a challenge so he headed off to the BBC firstly as a Studio Engineer and then as a Special Projects Engineer. He continued to work for the BBC throughout his illness.
Since 1986 Antony had also been heavily involved on the technical side of the Group 64 Theatre in Putney and was responsible for transforming their converted church into a proper theatre during the 90s. He designed and/or built the sets for countless of the company’s shows, as well as regularly designing, rigging and operating the lighting and sound. Antony was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Group 64 in 1995 and remained an active member there until his untimely death.
Antony's ability to turn his hand to almost anything will never be surpassed; he was able to build something quickly as a ‘bodge’ to get a show up and running or build something properly so that it would last a few years that ‘something’ could be electronic, a piece of scenery, a scaffolding structure or a simple set of shelves. If you ever had a technical problem Antony was THE person to turn to he would simply never let you down. He was the ultimate techie even down to his passion for drinking tea, wearing keys on his belt and dressing in checked shirts.
Antony is survived by his parents, Wyn and Fred, as well as by hundreds of friends.
BRYAN RAVEN and DAVID WHEATLEY