Walterdale members will be saddened to hear of the death of our dear friend, Gaye LePage on Saturday, 8 February, 2014 in Maple Ridge, B.C. Born in Coventry, England, through the 1980s Gaye acted, directed and for two years was artistic director at Walterdale.
Her energy was extraordinary, her theatrical tastes eclectic, and her acting arresting and moving. One need only recall her wonderful portrait of Lyubov in The Cherry Orchard, where she captured the sad gaiety of Chekhov exquisitely. That was only one of her many roles on-stage, but Gaye also distinguished herself as a director, willing to try new work. A notable example is John Byrne’s The Slab Boys, a play of the working class with undertones of the deep divisions in Scottish society, which she brought to the Walterdale stage in 1987.
But, our theatre is also about fun, and Gaye was a champion of our forays into panto, directing a fondly remembered version of Cinderella, complete with working golden coach, which also was on stage in 1987.
Classics, new work, pantos, melodramas, board meetings, set builds, light hangs, controversies, and most of all the reading of, talking of and living plays! Walterdale was extremely busy in those days, yet Gaye seemed to have a hand in nearly everything we did. And she was always gentle, welcoming, and supportive of other’s efforts, and genuinely celebratory of our collective success. Some of us remember a rehearsal she concocted as an extended improv, our characters tasked with putting on a community play at the local church hall. It is a shame no audience ever saw that fabulously eccentric ad hoc script. Walterdale was and is a wonderful place, and Gaye was personification of the magic that our theatre can be.
And one remembers her after rehearsals, when all would repair to the Strathcona beer parlour, and her never failing surprise that Baby Duck was the only wine on offer.
After moving to the coast, Gaye continued to act and direct. It is very apparent that she continued to value theatre and community there as much as she did here. As is the case in Edmonton, her friends in B.C. are legion, and all of us will miss her very much.
To Gaye’s children, Amanda and Nick (who also did plays at Walterdale), we offer our sympathy, but also our deep appreciation for our wonderful memories of Gaye.
The memorial for Gaye is set for Saturday, March 1st at 1:30 pm at the Evergreen Cultural Centre 1205 Pinetree way, Coquitlam BC V3B 7Y3.
Please come and join us for a celebration of her life. Please feel free to share anecdotes of your memories of Gaye.
Walterdale members who wish to share their memories of Gaye may do so through Flora Cain at email@example.com