Profile: John Beaver
Loft credits (click a play title to view details)
- Mr Shaw, In Celebration (1975)
- Buchanan, The Good and Faithful Servant (1975)
- Padre, Hamp (1974)
- Charlie Jackson, Birds on the Wing (1974)
- Napes, The Miser (1974)
- Martin Lynch-Gibbon, A Severed Head (1973)
- George Lewes, Scenes from an Improper Life (1972)
- Bilton, Major Barbara (1971)
- Father William Rolfe, Hadrian VII (1971)
- Fred, Present Laughter (1970)
- The Very Rev Augustin Jedd DD, Dandy Dick (1970)
- Sir Oblong Fitz Oblong, The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew (1970)
- Sonny/Mr Lawrence, Little Boxes (1969)
- Company, ’Alf a Nicker (1969)
- Victor Prynne, Private Lives (1968)
- Gerry Buss, Chase Me Comrade (1968)
- Leslie Piper, All in Good Time (1967)
- Major Charles Hugonin, His Excellency (1967)
- Philip Sturgess, The River Line (1954)
- Prologue, Hassan (1953)
- Poet, The Cradle Song (1950)
- Photographer, The Family Group (1942)
- Bert, Five Birds in a Cage (1942)
- Felipe Rivas, The Lady from Alfaqueque (1941)
- Crispin, Dona Clarines (1940)
- Bentley Summerhayes, Misalliance (1940)
John Beaver passed away in 2002. The following tribute was written by David Biddle:
With the death of John Beaver, after an incredibly positive and courageous fight against cancer, the Loft has lost not only one of its outstanding actors, but also the last survivor of those actors who appeared at our original theatre in Bedford Street.
Theatre played a significant part throughout John’s life; during his National Service in the Royal Air Force he became a member of Ralph Reader’s Gang Show, working alongside the likes of Peter Sellers and Tony Hancock. Indeed every year, without fail, he attended reunions of the Gang Show and the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society, even recently while battling against illness.
It was his involvement with local theatre that brought both recognition and admiration of his considerable skill as an actor – and although we like to claim him as our own, it must be remembered he impressed with other societies such as the Talisman and Spa Opera.
But it was not only on the stage, but also in his working life that John was highly regarded. He took over the licence of the Great Western public house from his father, where he was licensee for some years; and later became manager of the furniture department at Rackhams, where his efficiency and friendliness impressed all who came into contact with him. Again many of us will remember his professional involvement during rehearsals, whilst he was daily preoccupied with the vicissitudes of running his launderette business. As an actor every performance was the result of meticulous preparation; he left nothing to chance and his name on any cast list was a guarantee of quality and professionalism. He didn’t have to take the lead to outstrip us all (The Miser), but when he did, as in Hadrian VII, the result was amazing in its assurance and insight. And there was no one with a surer touch in comedy, which he proved in the opening production of our new Loft Theatre in 1968 in Private Lives. We were all amazed when, at his peak, he announced his retirement from the stage, though not at all surprised that he meant it when he said enough was enough. There were no endless farewell performances – that wasn’t John’s style.
A man of solid faith – he was a convert to Catholicism and a stalwart of St Peter’s in Dormer Place – his final fight with illness was undertaken with the utter belief that his God would support him to the end and beyond. He will be sorely missed as an actor, a churchman, a friend. Thank you, John.
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