Theatre veteran Peter Haley is dead

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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THEATRE luminary Peter Haley died in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 7, after a long battle with cancer.

He is best known for his work with the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company (JMTC) and its junior division.

For playwright, actor and director David Tulloch, the passing of Haley is a sad day for the local industry.

Tulloch's meeting with Haley 23 years ago can best be described as serendipitous. It was 1995. The JMTC was about to mount its latest production, Joseph and his Dream Coat, but the cast was short one male actor. Tulloch was not a member, but had a friend who suggested that he audition, due to his involvement in the drama club and choir at Wolmer's Boys' School.

“They already held auditions from September and this was now December, December 8 to be exact, and they were already in rehearsals. I met Peter Haley and Doug Bennett that day and was told the measurements for costumes was being done so the role was mine, if I wanted it. I did not audition so they had no idea if I could sing, dance or act. That began my more than two decades of association with Peter. He basically taught me all I knew about directing once I began doing my own productions. I have worked with him over the years on productions such as Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Rocking Romeo, Aida and Boardwalk on Broadway,” Tulloch told the Jamaica Observer.

“We have lost a giant. Through all his work in local theatre he never asked for pay, and that is something noteworthy. I am really at a loss for words at this time. Peter Haley has meant so much to me and the work that I do. I can safely say he pointed me in this direction, and I am so grateful,” Tulloch added.

British-born Haley joined the JMTC back in 1962 and contributed in various capacities — from actor and director to working in set design and construction. However, his work in theatre was not confined to JMTC, he is credited with performing in approximately 80 other productions for various producers, including Norman Rae, Lloyd Reckord, Maurice Harty and Paul Methuen.

— Richard Johnson

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