Tributes paid to long-standing Alban Arena manager
- Credit: Archant
Tributes have been paid to the “larger than life” general manager of the Alban Arena, who has passed away following a brief illness.
Frank Leclezio had worked at the Alban Arena for nearly two decades, and been the general manager since 2008.
He was instrumental in transforming the space from a seated auditorium into a Hertfordshire premier entertainment venue, attracting famous faces such as Michael McIntyre, John Bishop, Jools Holland and the band Gorillaz to the stage.
The annual Christmas pantomime grew year on year under Frank’s direction, and can now boast an audience of more than 40,000 for its duration.
Former marketing manager Chris Baker said: “Frank was a singular individual whose gruff and no nonsense approach to managing the Alban Arena garnered much respect from the industry from promoters, performers and other theatre managers.
“He was passionate about the arena and fiercely loyal to his staff, friends and most of all his daughter Carla. As an individual, a boss and a friend, I think it’s safe to say there will not be another like Frank Leclezio, his loss will be keenly felt by all that knew him.”
Panto dame and successful actor Bob Golding added: “There are few people you meet in life that have such beautiful irreverence. It’s not easy running a busy theatre, but to do it whilst maintaining an endearing cynical side and a soft sensitive art-loving side is extremely rare.”
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He said Frank was unique and loved dearly.
The playwright, director, producer and co-founder of Dyad Productions, Elton Townend Jones, said Frank was a good, big-hearted man full of life and laughter: “It was always a pleasure to see him and hear his stories which had everyone in fits of giggles.
“His life only brushed mine lightly, for those that were close to him the loss must be immense.
“He will be greatly missed by many. Wherever he’s gone now, I swear the party has only just begun.”
Actor Adam Shorey, who worked at the Arena between 2003-2008, said: “I was truly saddened to hear this news, I have so many fond memories of those Arena days and Frank was a big part of those memories. Who could forget his legendary boozy slush puppies, you knew the party was on when you saw Frank coming round with the tray! God bless you Frank!”
Frank was employed by 1life, a contractor of St Albans district council (SADC). Cllr Annie Brewster said: “Frank was a St Albans legend, an inspirational and charming man.”
She said he will be “enormously missed by everyone who had the good fortune to know him”.
The Arena team sent their own personal tribute: “Frank was a wonderful character, larger than life with a heart of gold. His sense of mischief was always apparent and he will be sorely missed by all of his friends at The Alban Arena. We may have lost a legend but his spirit will live on inside and beyond the theatre that he loved so much. Rest in peace, Frank, we miss you with all our hearts.”
In an announcement to staff, 1life said: “Frank’s contribution to the Alban Arena for the last 18 years has not been unnoticed and he will be sorely missed both on a personal and professional basis.”