Calderdale theatre pays tribute to Tim Piggott-Smith

Erik Knudsen, Square Chapel Chair of Trustees; Patrons Tim Pigott-Smith, Sally Wainwright and George Costigan; Square Chapel Director, David McQuillan and radio presenter Steph Hirst.
Erik Knudsen, Square Chapel Chair of Trustees; Patrons Tim Pigott-Smith, Sally Wainwright and George Costigan; Square Chapel Director, David McQuillan and radio presenter Steph Hirst.

Tributes have been paid to an actor, author and patron of Halifax’s Square Chapel Centre for the Arts who died aged 70.

Tim Piggott-Smith was best known for his BAFTA-winning role in 1984 TV series The Jewel in the Crown, as well as theatre work in the West End and Broadway.

He received an OBE for services to drama last month.

In 1989 he took over as artistic director of Compass Theatre based at Dean Clough, Halifax, and accepted an invited to become patron of Square Chapel in 1991.

George Costigan, fellow Square Chapel patron and friend, said: “Tim Pigott-Smith will be missed by everyone who ever worked with him. He was a craftsman, teeming with humour, and most crucially he led from the heart.

“Lucky heaven, the rest of us go on in his long, long shadow”

Sir Ernest Hall, Halifax businessman and Square Chapel patron, said: “I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear the unexpected news about Tim Pigott-Smith.

“I got to know Tim very well after his theatre company Compass was established at Dean Clough. I spent a lot of time with him and he was one of the gentlest and kindest people I’ve ever met.” Square Chapel director David McQuillan said: “We have lost an imposing and gifted actor but also a wonderful, funny and deeply kind man – he performed a variety of roles with such grace.”

Gillie Kerrod, director of Calderdale Theatre School, said: “When our Theatre School was threatened with closure in 1991, whilst Tim was based at Dean Clough, a group of the older theatre school members approached him to ask him to choose a play that they could rehearse and perform within 24 hours. He very kindly agreed and provided us with a parcel of scripts which we opened at Square Chapel live for the local media one Friday evening in April.

“To say it was a memorable experience would be an understatement.”