Theatre Wakefield has lost one of its most enduring and beloved Players. Gwen Shea was there from the beginning as we created our very first production, Much Ado About Lizzie, 13 years ago. It was she who created and nurtured the beloved character of Crystal Wedgewood that played such a key role in Pearson’s Plot. From there she delighted us with her performances in readings, murder mysteries and variety shows. Who can forget her audacious turn as the pregnant nun Sister Mary singing Son of a Preacher Man? And the subsequent birth scene? She had a wit that matched her soul, outrageous and beautiful. Gwen was also a major force behind the scenes. She was on the Board for many years. She helped bring to Wakefield the Piggy Back Fringe Festival, the Ta Da! Festival, and many other shows and events. She was a staunch supporter of bringing theatre into a community that was hungering for it, and in a way that was representative of our unique perspective of the world. Gwen laughed with us, rallied with us, and grew with us. But most of all, she played with us. She was our colleague, our fan, and our friend. Gwen, whether in a nun’s habit or a tiara, epitomised what we are as Players. She will be greatly missed.
Theatre Wakefield extends its condolences to Gwen’s family and friends. We send our love to Tim, who stood by her as she participated with us in our shenanigans.