Life and soul of Southwick theatre community wins award for his outstanding contribution to the arts
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Ron, 75, from Portslade, was nominated by Players president Debbie Creissen on behalf of the group's committee.
She wrote: "Ron has contributed to 78 productions in a multitude of roles, including acting, producing, publicity officer, props co-ordinator, director, puppet-maker, assistant stage manager, artistic liaison officer and, in his own words, 'general dogsbody and general nuisance'.
"Beyond his contributions to Players productions at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, he has promoted and directed plays for Worthing Theatre Trail, which aims to give free access to theatre for people living in and visiting Worthing.
"Ron has also developed a number of online murder mysteries, which were particularly important to enable us to continue providing theatrical entertainment during covid lockdowns, as well as raising money for the local Lions club. This is an ongoing activity, with plans to expand to live productions for charitable organisations.
"Ron is particularly active in encouraging and supporting the development of young actors and new-to-theatre individuals of any age. Several shows he has directed for us have included members of our youth group, particularly In Holland Stands a House and many of our pantomimes.
"He has mentored would-be directors and those interested in other theatre roles, and has promoted the development of new writers and directors through rehearsed play readings.
"Ron is also the editor and, in large part, author of our monthly newsletter and has organised and continues to maintain our fabulous archive spanning nearly 90 years of Southwick Players' activities.
"As a final act for the local community, Ron dons his fur-trimmed red suit, false beard, hat and boots, and fills his sack with toys and treats to entertain children at the Southwick Community Christmas fair.
"He even went the extra mile to set up Santa's grotto in his attic and undertake numerous Zoom calls with local children in 2021 and 2022 when the fair was cancelled owing to covid. He plans to continue this option in future for any children unable to attend in person."
Ron is a father of three and has seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He said: "I am deeply honoured to have been nominated by our committee and am even more so to have won this award. Chuffed doesn't go far enough to express how proud I am to receive this on behalf of the Southwick Players and their members.
"I must thank our committee members but, most importantly, I must thank Jo, my wonderful wife, for her patience and tolerance throughout these 30 years of am-dram."
Ron, who used to be a skills assessment manager for Southern Rail, stands as busy as ever on the theatrical footplate. He is currently directing Southwick Players' latest production, A Tale of Two Cities, running at the Barn Theatre from December 6 to 9. Box office: 0333 666 3366. Online: southwickplayers.org.uk