25 Sep 2019

Vale Brian Downie (1948 – 2019)

via Live Performance Australia, 23 September

LPA was very saddened to hear of the passing of much loved Technical Director, Brian Downie last Friday. Our thoughts and sincerest condolences are with Brian’s partner Thomas, and his family, friends and colleagues.

Below are some lovely words in memory of Brian Downie provided by Gordon Frost Organisation (GFO):

Born in Scotland, Brian started his theatre career at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh in 1967. After leaving Edinburgh University in 1971 he worked with Scottish Opera for the next eleven years being responsible for over sixty main stage operas. Working in America for the next two years in Virginia and Kentucky as technical Director he presented a further seven opera productions.

On being asked to establish Gerrits Great Britain he returned to Britain and after a further seven years he left for Asia to open the Far East markets for Gerrits. After eight years in Asia living in Singapore, Kuala Lumper and Bangkok Brian moved to Sydney in 1998 to resume work as a Technical Director.

Rodney Rigby: “In 1998, when once again we could not find a technical director for The Sound of Music, the fax machine spat out a single page with a hand written scrawl in a thick black marker, “You are looking for a Technical Director, I am a Technical Director” with his name and number and with that, my friendship with Brian began.”

Brian has been responsible for a myriad of productions notably The Sound of Music, Annie, The Wizard of Oz, Man of La Mancha, Footloose, The Producers, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Rock of Ages, Legally Blonde, Woman in Black, Dusty, The Helpmann Awards 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, Shout, 700 Sundays, Titanic, Guys and Dolls, The Addams Family, The King and I, Georgy Girl and his last production which opened 20 July 2019 Come from Away at the Comedy Theatre Melbourne.

Jo Sapir: “For twenty years Brian has been my mentor and my friend. My defender and my strongest critic. I am privileged to have shared my work and life with him. His impact and influence on so many theatre staff will keep his light burning brightly.”

Brian’s industry colleagues wish to express heartfelt condolences to Brian’s beloved partner Thomas Ong, his remaining family in the UK and to his friends in all corners of the globe.

He will be privately cremated this week, but Brian did request that we all gather together at one of the theatre bars to celebrate his life and swap stories and tell lies. Tentatively 1 October but the venue and time to be confirmed via social media.

Remembering Brian

John Frost AM:“A true talented man of the theatre will be missed by his loved ones and colleagues. A great loss for all of us.”

Stephen Found:“ I shall miss Brian’s uncompromising eye for planning & detail, his dry wit and above all his loyal friendship.”


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