HERE at the Torch Theatre we were all deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Laurie Dale, without doubt, one of Pembrokeshire’s greatest characters.

The amateur theatre scene in Pembrokeshire has always been strong, full of exceptionally talented people and nobody epitomised that more than Laurie.

The difference between an amateur actor and a professional actor is often thought of as a reflection of talent but more often than not, it’s more about a lack of opportunity, or circumstances dictate that the life of an actor is just not appropriate It was a great deal easier for my generation to enter the theatre world as I’m sure Laurie’s son, Charles, would agree, but the generation before, it was virtually unheard of.

Laurie was someone that you just know could’ve made it as a professional, and a bloody good one too. I saw many of his performances for Tenby Players, who could forget his Captain Cat in Under Milk Wood – brilliant, still the best I’ve seen.

It’s very temping to say ‘what a shame, he didn’t become a professional’ but then Tenby would’ve been deprived of one of its most colourful characters.

Laurie managed to get so much enjoyment from his son Charles’s fantastically successful career, he always knew in great detail, what he was up to and who he was working with but then he’d be equally enthusiastic telling you about his daughter Linzi, he was just a people person and loved a chat. And of course, had he chosen the theatre, where would we have all gone to get the latest top ten hit or the latest LP .

His memory will live on and I’m sure his name will be above the music shop in Tenby’s ‘Broadway’ for many years to come.

Peter Doran, Artistic Director, Torch Theatre