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Farewell, Kevin

Our friend Kevin Fitz-Simons passed away unexpectedly on New Year’s Eve – a day which should be filled with thoughts of the future, but instead became about contemplating a good friend lost and a past spent working together.

For the last few years Kevin had been working at AC Lighting in Leeds, and before that at Playlight – but what made him so good at both companies was that he’d spent years before actually doing shows, as a lighting designer or production electrician. He therefore had a very clear understanding of how to help customers either as they were pre-planning a show or when they called in a panic because something had gone wrong. In other words, he was exactly the kind of person you wanted to be dealing with.

As a production electrician, we worked with Kevin during his time working in theatres and on the road, including at the Liverpool Everyman, the Tyne in Newcastle, Nothern Ballet, Opera North and, for a number of years, the English Shakespeare Company, and as he worked as a production electrician or associate lighting designer, notably with LD Brian Harris, on shows such as the original Shadowlands in the West End.

Kevin Fitz-Simons focussing Twelfth Night for the ESCFrom the late-1980s to the mid-1990s, he was the regular lighting designer for the National Youth Theatre, providing beautiful lighting for shows such as Murder in the Cathedral in London and Moscow, Marat/Sade starring a young Daniel Craig, and The Suicide, the directorial debut of Matthew Warchus, who has gone on to be responsible for shows such as Lord of the Rings and the current hit musical Matilda. Though he’d never really have considered that he was doing so, throughout that time, and the time he later spent at LAMDA, he nurtured and supported a wide range of individuals who have gone on to work at the highest levels of entertainment lighting and the wider entertainment industry as a whole.

With Kevin, it was always fun; however hard the show, however crazy the schedule, the aim was to do the show to the highest standards possible, but to have a good time along the way. Dealing with him as a customer was always fun, whether it be enjoying horror stories from overseas tour of enoying a ‘couple’ of drinks before (and after) shows that we were supplying. Dealing with him as a supplier at AC was equally fun and telephone calls always took a lot longer than they needed to because of the laughter.

We will miss him; the world is a sadder place without him. Our thoughts are with his wife, Jean, and his children.

Kevin’s funeral will take place on Monday January 20th at St Johns in Dukinfield, near Manchester. All are welcome. Directions to the Church can be found here. Those attending are asked to confirm by visiting here.

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