Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Peter Hepple 1927 - 2006

The former editor of The Stage, Peter Hepple, died last week at the age of 79.

As The Stage's Mark Shenton writes.
It is difficult to imagine the paper without him. Absolutely one-of-a-kind, he had a passion for journalism and the theatre industry rooted in an affection for being there every night. He died on Wednesday night and was in the office only the day before. When I ran into a West End press agent yesterday, she told me that Peter reviewing a show that she was handling next week; I had to tell her the news that Peter would not, after all, be there. But I know he will be there in spirit – he never missed an opening if he could help it.
There is also an obituary by Michael Coveney in The Guardian.
Hepple may not have been a dazzling critical writer, but he was a first-rate journalist, someone who took as much pleasure in Ken Dodd or Tony Bennett as he did in the latest new play at the National Theatre or the Bush. He emerged from the postwar twilight of nightclubs and vaudeville - his real stomping ground was the old Talk of the Town at Leicester Square, the London Palladium, and the West End clubs such as the Embassy, the Pigalle and Quaglino's - to embrace the new theatrical realities of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the far-flung London fringe and regional pantomimes. He regarded the latter, unfashionably but correctly, as the lifeblood of the nation's theatrical tradition and prosperity, the place where popular art could be seen at its best.

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