18 July 2018
Our first ever show got off to a tough start. The marketing company I had hired to publicise our production of Terence Rattigan’s While the Sun Shines had failed to distribute a single poster or leaflet and no-one in Birmingham knew we were about to open. It was in this chaos that Jeff McDonald walked into the Old Rep Theatre. He found me backstage and offered whatever help he could give us. I grabbed a bundle of leaflets and said if he could distribute them around the city it would be a wonderful first step. And so it proved – a wonderful first step towards one of the most important relationships I have had through the BSC. Jeff was a one-off. Nothing was too much trouble. He proved to be one of the most reliable, loyal and dedicated people we’ve ever had the good fortune of meeting. Jeff could talk for England – and France and Spain and Sweden. There was no such thing as a short conversation. But it was always filled with enthusiasm for the company and our shows on the road. He would travel the length and breadth of the UK, cajoling libraries and newsagents to put up the posters for each impending tour. We always wanted him along for the ride and we took him to Dubai, New York and then Hampton Court Palace for our 25th party. Our most recent invitation was for him to join us at this year’s Olivier Awards but sadly he was too tired for this last hurrah. He has recently died aged 79, filled till the end with energy and interest in everything we were doing. It won’t be the same company without him. We salute you Jeff – a uniquely positive presence in all our lives.
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