John Wyckham - A Tribute

Thursday, September 16, 2010

John, aged 84, late of John Wyckham Associates, peacefully at Talbot View, Bournemouth after a long illness. Cremation at Poole Crematorium, 8th September at 12.30 p.m. Family flowers only. Donations to Alzheimer''s Research Trust.

John was both a founder member of the Society of Theatre Consultants, and a leading exponent of the craft, helping to form the profession we all enjoy.  His unfortunate struggle with Alzheimer''s made it difficult to keep in contact over recent years. 

“I was saddened to hear of John''s passing. He had a long and distinguished career.

I''d like to remember John in his youth and heyday. 

He was the brilliant lighting designer for Lionel Bart''s great hit, OLIVER. Sean Kenny was an eccentric genius of a designer, and John perfectly matched him with some revolutionary fine lighting. Without masking, it was a breakthrough at the time. John also designed scenery and lighting for the hit revue BEYOND THE FRINGE.

He joined Theatre Projects on almost our first consulting mission, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. With TP, he was the first managing director of our architectural lighting activity, Light Limited, with a most handsome Bentley Showroom in Berkeley Square. Our lives moved onto separate paths, but as a pioneer of the ALD, and the STC, as well as in his own practice, he made a great contribution to our profession. Thank you, John.

Richard Pilbrow

Ian Albery adds:

John was great to work with and he did a wonderful job lighting Oliver! The budget for the lighting was minuscule and virtually every lantern was relatively old in house stock from the Wyndham Theatres Ltd. So John had minimal resources to do an amazing job with the pioneering revolving open stage set designed by Sean Kenny. As the Production Manager for Donmar Productions Ltd I subsequently had to recreate John''s lighting design on manifold touring productions around the world and the neatness and precision of John''s lighting design made my job a relative joy (after two days/nights getting out/travelling/ getting in/fitting up the set) compared to what it might have been.

We worked together again on ''Beyond The Fringe''. The show had been tried out at Edinburgh and was entirely rewritten and directed. John had the unenviable job of having to design on a shoestring budget, a multi-purpose, do-anything set for a revue format show that neither of us had seen or had any idea what to expect.

A great guy.