The life of Greenwich Theatre’s front-of-house photographer will be celebrated on 1 August.
Barbara Windsor in Sing a Rude Song, 1970
Stephen Moreton-Prichard was the Greenwich Theatre’s front-of-house photographer for 15 years. During that time he photographed some true greats – some already well established, some, relative unknowns destined for stardom.
Now, his life is to be celebrated with a special one-off show at Greenwich Theatre. A Celebration for Stephen will bring together artists, professionals, colleagues and friends in a special performance for one night only on 1 August. Stephen died earlier this year after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s, and all the proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Society.
Stephen took up professional photography in 1960 after a career in the Army. He spent the next 38 years working in film for numerous clients. Buildings were a speciality, as were product shots for publications like Which?, in the days when magazines contracted professionals, instead of, as now, relying on PR digital handouts.
He worked from a studio on the top floor of a rambling four-story house on the borders of Blackheath and Lewisham, where he and his wife Celia moved to in the late 1960s.
But it was theatre, and in particular Greenwich Theatre, where Stephen’s creativity was allowed to flourish. His natural eye gave him the artistic flair, and his professionalism delivered the shot.
When Greenwich Theatre was reopened in 1969 publicity photos were needed and Stephen was asked to provide them. It was the start of a working relationship that lasted until 1984.
Over those 15 years he photographed many productions, and many rising stars. Barbara Windsor dressed as a pearly queen in 1970 stands out, a dramatic looking Mia Farrow in 1973, Glenda Jackson dressed as a maid in 1974, a young Nicholas Lyndhurst in 1974, Penelope Keith, Felicity Kendal, Kenneth Branagh, and a 21-year-old Rupert Everett – destined for Hollywood – were all captured by his lens.
The show on 1 August is being produced by Stephen’s wife Celia and a night of rare variety is to be expected – founder of the well-regarded Centenary Company, Celia is well known in local theatre circles as a minor impresario.
She has drawn together friends, professionals, colleagues and locals who have something to give by way of tribute. Expect choral music, foot-stomping music hall numbers, calypso, Gilbert and Sullivan, Welsh folk, Purcell, Mahler, William Byrd, Satie, Mozart and spoken tributes. An exhibition of Stephen’s photographs will also be on display.
Tickets are £15, with all proceeds going to the charity – the theatre has donated itself free for the evening, and many of the professional performers have waived their fee.
Many locals who knew Stephen will be there, while others are flying in from as far afield as Australia for the performance.
“Expect much laughter,” Celia told Greenwich.co.uk, “and just one or two tears.”
Show: A Celebration for Stephen
Date and time: Sunday 1 August 2010, 7.30 pm
Box Office: www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk