21 April 2024

We were sad to hear of the passing of actor, director and theatre writer John Chapman on Tuesday 16 April, after a short and sudden illness.

John played the role of Swelter in Sedos’ 2013 production of Gormenghast and will also be known to many of our community for his performances with Tower Theatre, particularly as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and amateur companies across the UK in 2016.

Andy Marchant, who directed Gormenghast and worked with John on a couple of other occasions, said: "John thoroughly embraced taking on the role of the very vile Swelter, as well being a part of the greater chorus. He was a great team player, and a fantastic person to have in a cast. He wasn’t just an actor either – he put together Virtual Tower joining lockdown and always took time out to get involved to my own virtual theatre project at the same time."

Sedos members Maria Waters and Adam Moulder were cast members in A Midsummer Night’s Dream alongside John.

Maria said: "I was very sad to hear about John’s sudden death. I worked very closely with him on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and for all of us, it was a tremendously exciting project, but for John, who was playing Bottom, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. He totally embodied the essence of that character. We went through every stage of the process together, which he recorded in a published blog and he amassed a wide readership. Having retired before Dream 16, he decided to continue with the blog after the show, as he had caught the writing bug and he went on to review all sorts of theatrical productions and films, both professional and amateur.

"His enthusiasm for all things theatre and arts persisted throughout his life. He described with glee various roles he had played. He always embodied his characters with enormous energy and gusto and knew an awful lot about theatre. I will miss him."

Adam added: "John's enthusiasm for theatre was unmatched and working so closely with him on A Midsummer Night's Dream I witnessed first hand how much he loved that experience and saw him work so hard to deliver a great performance. He was always armed with a funny line and ready to throw himself wholeheartedly into everything. We will all really miss him, but we know he lived his best life and can be proud of everything he achieved."

John’s funeral will take place on Friday 17 May at 3pm at Forest Park Crematorium, Essex. His wife Jackie welcomes anyone who wishes to remember John and celebrate his life.

She has requested no flowers, but anyone who wishes may make a contribution in John’s memory to Mind (a JustGiving page will be available shortly) or directly to Cats Protection.

John Chapman in rehearsal for Sedos’ production of Gormenghast

John Chapman (centre) in rehearsal for Sedos’ production of Gormenghast

John Chapman (standing)in Sedos’ production of Gormenghast

John Chapman (standing) in Sedos’ production of Gormenghast

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