Thursday, 7 April 2011


This week I lost one of my best friends, who was taken from us too soon. Below are the words I wrote for his funeral:

About 12 years ago, Gavin took me to one side and told me that he was going to leave the youth service. This depressed me momentarily until his next sentence, which was “Instead, I’m just going to do shows on my own. Want to help?”

And that’s how Maverick started. Gavin had the vision, and I was the helper. And I quickly learnt that no matter how crazy his ideas, we’d achieve them. Staging Macbeth on a chessboard? Done. Casting, rehearsing and performing a show in a week? Done. Persuading a school that he, I, James, Matt and Brendan were a respectable theatre in education group? Done.

Over the next few years we repeatedly pushed people off Rockley pier in the name of art, painted 219 A3 playing cards to decorate a set with, acquired a surfboard from the tip and wrote, directed and produced more shows than I can possibly remember.

But while he was a man brimming over with artistic ideas, he never lost sight of the real reason behind Maverick. It was somewhere to go for the kids. Didn’t matter who you were, where you came from, what your circumstances, if you came along and were enthusiastic, you were instantly accepted.

And that just highlights who he was. A wonderful, caring and artistic person, who had the best track record I’ve ever known at trying to please everyone at once, and understood children’s theatre better than anyone I’ve ever met,. You can see that just by looking at the scripts, plays and stories that he wrote. Incidentally, people always thought that Gavin wrote scripts slowly. Not true. He wrote very quickly, it’s just he always avoided starting to write until the last possible moment.

I could talk about Gavin and Maverick forever. Without him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I’m sure that many of you wouldn’t either. He was one of my closest friends, and I shall miss him beyond belief.

To conclude, I thought I’d quote some of his own lyrics, with a small adjustment made to fit the situation (as he was prone to do himself.)

This is the Story
How one man changed our lives
Never looking for Glory
One man, One fedora
A legend that thrives.

Just remember, the teller may be gone, but the stories that he tells will forever live on.

Thanks Gav. We'll miss you.