JEFFREY SMITH (d.1989)
Questors members will be shocked by the sudden death of Jeffrey Smith who collapsed and died in February. Jeffrey was among our most senior directors and at the time of his death was due to direct one of the Student Playwriting Competition winners later this year. Few members, however, will realise how long was his association with The Questors.
His first production here was as long ago as 1962 when he made his mark with The Tempest in the old tin hut, the playhouse preceding our present one. He came to us from Leeds Little Theatre, where among his close friends were Gordon Caleb (later to be our Administrator) and the late Phillip Wright, husband of Win. His first production in the present playhouse was William Wycherly’s The Country Wife in 1965.
For some years he dropped out of The Questors due to the calls of work and a growing family, though he continued to direct in Kent, where he lived. Later he made a welcome return to The Questors’ directing team, despite the difficulty of the long journey from his home.
Among his productions in recent years were Forty Years On by Alan Bennett, When We are Married by J.B. Priestley and Orwell’s Animal Farm. Many regard his hilarious staging of When We are Married as his best piece of work although Animal Farm (1986) was among our greatest successes at The Minack in Cornwall, where it drew large and enthusiastic audiences.
Jeffrey was blessed with a happy, cheerful temperament and made many friends. He was highly imaginative and extremely witty and his audition letters were always a joy. One always regrets he never wrote us a review. Certainly the spoof ‘school magazine’ he produced for distribution to the audience at Forty Years On was as funny as the play itself, with an obituary column which included a list of boys who had been shot “for reasons unspecified”!
We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Barbara, who was often seen at Mattock Lane, and to his family.
MICHAEL GREEN (April 1989)