St Albans theatre group mourns death of Abbey Theatre stalwart

HALF a century of dedication to a St Albans drama group has ended with the death of David Stone last week after a long battle against illness.

David, 72, was diagnosed with cancer four years ago but was still a familiar sight at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans where he had been a member of the Company of Ten for over 50 years.

As an actor, director and writer he was involved in all aspects of the theatre company’s output where he was an Honorary Life Member.

David, who lived in St Albans with his wife Angela whom he met through the Company of Ten, was born, lived and died in the city.

Initially he worked in the military hat business in Hatfield Road founded by his father but then turned to teaching after taking various degrees including an M.Phil at the Shakespeare Institute.

He went on to teach drama at Townsend School in High Oaks which was in a drama consortium with Loreto College and when he retired in the mid 1990s, he became a drama moderator at A-level.

David, the father of three daughters from a previous marriage, devoted much of his free time to the Company of Ten although he did a couple of plays with Breakaway. His last appearance on stage was in the Company of Ten’s David Copperfield in 2009 and he also directed the Christmas show Treasure Island that year.

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Paul Davidson, chairman of the Company of Ten, said: “David was a member in 1959 which is more than 50 years ago. Our former president Terry Newell, who wrote Ten of the Best, has a picture of a very young looking David in the background when Michael Redgrave laid the foundation stone at the Abbey Theatre.”

David was chairman of the Company of Ten from 1984 to 1990, was on and off the committee for decades and until last year was the drama group’s marketing guru.

Paul added: “He has always been one of the driving forces behind the Company of Ten and his death is a great loss.”

A private green family funeral is being held at the St Albans Woodland Burial Trust site at Keysoe in Bedfordshire next Wednesday, October 19. Situated next door to an equestrian centre, Angela said the location was particularly apt because he owned and rode horses all his life.

She added: “David was beloved by so many people that I feel I was looking after him for them. He had so much to give and everybody and everyone who came into contact with him went away the better for it. He was wise and funny.”