The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond is honoured to announce a substantial bequest from its former Associate Director, the late Paul Iles (1952-2011).
Paul had an extensive and important career in theatre and arts management and during his lifetime he built up a unique collection of theatrical reference material and memorabilia.
The collection is one of the most significant and sizeable collections of its kind in existence. It comprises playbills, prints and ephemera covering a wide period of theatrical history as well as developments and trends in theatrical management. It is of particular significance to The Georgian Theatre Royal as it contains material regarding Samuel Butler and his touring circuit of Georgian playhouses of which The Georgian in Richmond is the only remaining house in operation.
Paul was Associate Director of The Georgian for over ten years and he bequeathed his remarkable collection to the Theatre following his death in 2011, along with more than £200,000 towards the development of the Theatre’s educational and heritage roles. Paul was survived by his parents, Pamela Joan Iles and Raymond Charles Iles and brother Mark Iles.
Commenting on the bequest this week, the Georgian Theatre Chairman Mac Bryant said: "During his lifetime Paul Iles was a tremendous supporter of The Georgian and he provided very wise counsel to the Trustees and staff alike. He played an important part in the 2003 restoration and extension of the Theatre and expressed his great respect for the late Lady Crathorne who chaired the Trust at that time.
"It is a reflection of Paul’s love for the Georgian as well as his impressive combination of vision and realism that his bequest included some immediate revenue support for the Theatre in addition to the development of our educational and heritage roles. Without this immediate support, next year’s budget would have been extremely difficult to piece together.
"Looking ahead, we are hoping to achieve matched funding to enable Paul’s bequest to realise a number of exciting developments during the next few years. We are determined to honour his passion for education as we remember his generosity of spirit, good humour and considerable intellect. He was a man of great integrity whose input to our work is already very much missed."
Chief Executive of the Georgian Theatre Royal, Kate Longmate, said: "News of Paul’s bequest to the theatre arrived on my first day in post here at the Georgian. Although I did not know Paul, on my appointment he had generously offered to meet me to discuss the theatre. A couple of days after receiving this invitation, Paul sadly died. It struck me, how ill Paul must have been at this time and to make such an offer to a stranger, seems to me to be a mark of both his generosity of spirit and his love for and dedication to the Georgian.
"Myself, the staff and volunteers of the theatre are excited about the developmental possibilities this bequest opens up for us and look forward to honouring Paul’s life and his immense contribution to The Georgian in the future."