Simon Dunmore – Acting and Directing teacher at RADA
A tribute from Geoff Bullen
Simon Dunmore, who was a highly-respected and universally-liked teacher and director at RADA in the 80s and early 90s, has died at the age of 67.
Simon fell into theatre almost accidentally; his degree, from Clare, Cambridge, was in physics and for a short time he worked for Plessey, but noticed that more and more of the stuff he was given to work on was stamped M.O.D. and he suspected he might be involved in the development of armaments which is NOT what he wanted to be doing.
So he went off to do a B.Ed. at Bristol where all the friends he made were involved in the dramatic society. He joined them in stage management, did a bit of acting and eventually a bit of directing and found he had fallen in love with the whole theatrical world. The late Bob Hamlin asked him to be his associate at The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry and Simon was there for seven years; he and Bob were responsible for a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of that theatre of which they were justly proud.
His first book An Actor's Guide to Getting Work was in response to being asked the same questions over and over by a succession of students, knowing the answers could be found in many disparate places but that no-one had co-ordinated them logically in one, easy-to-reference, volume. Fourteen more books followed - no-one was more surprised than he at their success.
He married actress Maev Alexander in 1981. Maev writes:
Simon took his cancer typically in his stride, was fascinated by the science of, and weathered well, his treatments and was amazingly well in himself for four years that were a curiously happy time for all the family. He was teaching at E15 till a fortnight before his death and the crisis, when it came, was swift and clean and without suffering. He had great integrity and humility and was a thoroughly nice man.
Actor and Screenwriter (Pride), Stephen Beresford adds:
I was in Living Quarters, which Simon directed in our third year. Sorry to hear of his death. He was a very knowledgeable man, especially on the subject of young actors finding work.
Simon’s daughter, Alix Dunmore is currently the girl in The 39 Steps at The Criterion - the last piece of live theatre he saw - how fitting!