TRIBUTES have been paid to a set designer who provided the backdrop and direction for plays and shows for decades.
Gordon Fluck was born in Gloucester in 1932 and from an early aged developed a lifelong interest in the stage. He died on Sunday, January 26.
He spent his early years in Kingsholm Road and was a chorister at St Mark’s church and went to Sir Thomas Rich’s school, then in Barton Street.
Already an enthusiastic builder of model theatres, he first tasted stage success at school with an award-winning house play production of the trial scene from The Merchant of Venice.
Following a short period in the drawing office of the county council, Gordon spent his national service years in the Devonshire Regiment.
On his return to Gloucester he took up a position with Priestley Studios, so starting a career in exhibition, display and show design.
His active interest in the theatre continued, learning and honing the various crafts at the Civic Playhouse in Cheltenham and as a member of Gloucester’s Mynd Players.
He was also involved with helping the famous designer Leslie Hurry, who was working on Hamlet at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
To bring new, exciting and challenging plays, many from America and London The Phoenix Players was born to bring them to a Gloucester audience.
He designed sets and costumes, as well as directing a large number and a varied range of plays.
“Set design and construction were his forte of course, with a unique ability to conjure spectacle, space and illusion from the barest of materials,” said Michael Ser. geant of The Phoenix Players.
“Some actors were known to murmur that the sets got more applause than the cast did.”
His work wasn’t confined to the theatres and halls in regular use. Notable events included an Edward II at Berkeley Castle, Comus in the gardens at Highnam Court and Tartuffe at Stanway House. He was particularly proud of his involvement in the Stroud Festival, which included directing Michael Hurd’s The Widow of Ephesus in the presence of HRH Princess Margaret.
Having moved to an apartment at Tibberton Court in the early 1960s, the grounds proved an ideal location for further outdoor productions in the 1990s, including Romeo and Juliet.
He retired from jointly running a successful exhibition design company in the 1990s, throwing his energy into steering the work of enthusiasts now running The Kings Theatre in Gloucester.
The last play Gordon directed for The Phoenix Players at the Kings theartre was Hedda Gabler in November 2010. Its next play, The Graduate, we will dedicated to Gordon and runs from February 18 to 22.