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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Theatre celebration for the life of Stephen Pike

Stephen Pike… a legendary figure in local theatre both as a producer and director.

A celebration of the life and achievements of Stephen Pike will be held at Erindale Theatre, 2pm,  Sunday August 25.

The Canberra and Queanbeyan theatre communities were saddened by news that theatre identity Stephen Pike had died in a Sydney hospital after complications from heart surgery on June 30.

Pike, who would have turned 70 in November, was artistic director and program manager of The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre since the opening of The Q in March 2008 until July 2020, was widely credited with having put this new regional theatre on the map.

He used his wide connections in the theatre world to engage companies from around the country, and his savvy brand of programming mixed popular crowd-pleasers with cutting-edge theatre in a subscription program that drew audiences, not just in Queanbeyan but from around Canberra and the region.

He also staged smash hits for The Q, such as his 2012 revival of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, and the musical Blood Brothers.

It was Pike who alerted Pigeonhole Theatre director Jordan Best to the possibility of taking a Q show, Playhouse Creatures, to Monaco during the 16th Mondial du Théâtre in 2017.

A legendary figure in local theatre both as a producer and director, before taking up his position with The Q he ran his own theatre businesses at The Bellows Restaurant, Hippo’s Restaurant and Tarzan’s, and was also business manager for Canberra Rep for six years.

As a performer gifted with a fine tenor voice, his own leading roles included Jean Valjean in Colin Anderson’s 1996 production of Les Miserables for Canberra Philharmonic.

Pike had long suffered from heart problems, and had undergone extensive surgery before transferring to Sydney for  a more extensive operation, from which he did not recover.

When I visited him in Canberra private hospital in late May, he said he was at peace with his likely fate and that he had been both consoled and delighted by the many visitors on whose lives and theatre careers he had impacted.

While I was visiting him, he had a call from musical theatre star Billy Bourchier, one of the many people who attribute their success to his influence and support.

Registrations for the celebration on August 25 at stagecenta.com

 

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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