It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Keith French,
a long-time member of Argosy Players, on Sunday 11th April.
He fulfilled many roles throughout the Arts world in Hillingdon.
For many years he was Secretary to Ruislip and Northwood Arts Council,
later becoming Secretary to Hillingdon Arts Association.
He was passionate about the works of Shakespeare and produced many of his plays for Argosy.
He occupied a number of different positions in Argossy and became their primary set designer,
winning both an HAA Award, and a NODA Award for Set Design.
He was a very able and convincing actor in whatever role he played,
a raconteur and collector of antiques.
He designed and helped make fabulous sets not only for Argosy Players
but also for a number of local societies including Ruislip Dramatic society,
the library and arts service in the borough and in particular,
for a performance by Argosy Players on the stage of the Criterion Theatre in town.
A perfectionist, he would go to great lengths to find items and furniture with which
to enhance a set and give the players the best possible ambience in which to perform.
He had a larger than life personality and was a distinguished looking figure in later years
as he developed sideburns and beard, but which he was always willing to divest if the part he
was playing required it.
He was generous with his time and talents and passed on his many skills in the Theatre Workshop
where he could be found every weekend working to the music of Classic FM.
Two years ago he gave a talk on theatre design to members of the HAA and brought
along with him models of sets which he had made before producing the full-size version.
He made a study of Mythology and Trees as well as the development of Theatre and was preparing talks
for groups before the pandemic curtailed visits.
Many people in the theatre and the wider arts community in Hillingdon
and beyond will mourn his passing but be grateful for the friendship and knowledge he
shared during his lifetime.
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Sculptural Hillingdon is a free booklet published by the HAA.
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