A personal tribute from Tony Hooper.
This is a personal appreciation of the influence upon our community of Ron Richards during the past few years. Ron was a man who lived and breathed the theatre, where he had spent all his working life since his National Service in the Navy. He had certainly led an exciting and fulfilling life.
I am reminded of a story he told me about a reunion of his school class after forty years. He was in conversation with a gentleman with whom he had been very friendly during those long past schooldays, and asked him about his life. The answer was given in 5 minutes, as he explained that he had gone to university, joined a firm where he was still working, married, and was still living in the same area. When Ron was asked about his career, he decided that (a) it would take far too long to go through the whole thing, and (b) he doubted if his friend would be able to understand his way of life.
In Andorra, Ron certainly was understood. His enthusiasm affected so many people who actually took part in productions by the Theatre Group, and was appreciated by all those who were able to enjoy those productions.
He was a hard task master, aiming always for a high professional standard, but whatever he asked you to do, he could show you how, and make a better job of it. The hardest task was trying to take some of the load from his shoulders since he was a workaholic where the theatre was concerned. His skills extended to all aspects concerned with a production.
Ron’s powers of persuasion were immense. Who else could have persuaded me to appear in front of an audience wearing flashing lights on my head? In the same way, he led many others to forget themselves for the entertainment of others; in doing so many of us were privileged to enter a new world, and to enjoy ourselves doing it. Often a production was planned and then Ron went out and found people to take the roles, people who had no idea of what they were capable of achieving, but he knew and brought the best out of them.
Ron is going to be sadly missed by all those who worked with him, and by the many who were able to enjoy his productions which were of the highest possible professional standard. But do not grieve. As was said to me at the same time of his funeral, Ron will be waiting for us all to join him, and you can be sure he will have a script and a project ready and waiting so that he can continue to give joy and entertainment.
Thank you, Ron, for many unforgettable years,
Published in Inter-Comm Spring 1996