Town to say farewell to theatre legend

The funeral mass for Michael Elliott, 82, a key figure in the local theatre scene, will take place at St Augustine’s Church in Crescent Road on Wednesday July 24*.

Mr Elliot and his wife, Caroline, had been key supporters of the Trinity Theatre in Church Road. 

The pair had worked tirelessly promoting the venue, since it opened in 1982.

Mr Elliott was both a board member and manager of the arts venue.  Caroline Elliott, who passed away in 2016, had also been a founding member.

The couple had been integral in saving Holy Trinity Church from demolition in 1976 and were heavily involved in turning the former Decimus Burton church into its current form of a theatre and arts venue.

They also ran the popular Old Time Music Hall in Southborough, along with various other theatrical events hosted in and around Tunbridge Wells.

After working as a general administrator for the National Theatre in the late 70s and 80s, Mr Elliot became a professional actor late in life.

It wasn’t until 1994, at the age of 51, that he turned professional and quickly found success, first in Bill Kenwright’s production of The Miracle Worker, and then in many West End productions including Sam Mendes’ Oliver! at the London Palladium. 

He also had numerous TV credits including appearances in The Bill, EastEnders, Casualty, My Hero, and Little Britain. All the while regularly appearing on the Hever, Stag and Trinity stages, culminating in a tour de force performance as King Lear in 2011.

Alex Green CEO of Trinity Theatre said Michael would be greatly missed by everybody connected to the theatre.

Paying tribute to the theatre veteran, he said: “Michael Elliott has been a key figure within Trinity’s history both on and off the stage. As a director and actor he delivered performances which were received with acclaim by audiences and critics alike. 

“As a board director and manager, he helped save the organisation and in part enabled it to continue its growth into the much loved status it holds today. 

“He will be greatly missed by the many people he helped shape and mentor in the theatre world.” 

Mr Elliott’s funeral service takes place today at 12.30pm at St Augustine’s Church, after which a wake will be held at The George Inn
in Frant.

The family have requested no flowers, but donations can be made to St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

Mr Elliott is survived by three children and six grandchildren.

*An earlier story reported in the print edition of the Times of Tunbridge Wells incorrectly stated that the fuineral service for Mr Elliot was today. We are happy to correct and clarify.

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