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Phyl Harris our founder and patron - obituary

It is with great sadness that we announce that the founder of the Spa Theatre Company, Phyl Harris, has passed away.

Phyl was one of the old school: professional down to her fingertips and with an eye for detail in theatrical production that was astonishing. She may, in her latter years, have been frail in body, but her mind remained as sharp as ever.

There will be, literally, hundreds of local people, many young, but some of increasing years, who will recall her with a mixture of immense respect and fondness, mixed with a little trepidation. She could be quite a tyrant when she wanted to achieve her production vision, but deep down she would often admit that she too was acting in order to get the desired effect.

It is impossible to list all those who have benefitted from her skills and knowledge. And she has a soft spot for young people, setting up Spa Theatre Company in response to requests from the children who took part in Spa Opera's production of "The King and I" in 1981. Her new group "sprouted" off from Spa Opera, and it is by this moniker of "sprouts" that our Junior Section is still known. Since that initial establishment of the Sprouts, the Company went on to create a Senior Section, and both sections continue to flourish. In Committee, we still say "what would Phyl have thought about this" when we debate the future of the Company.

She may have gone but she will never be forgotten. She lives on.

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