Farewell for theatre stalwart

THERE was a full house, in fact, standing room only for Ann Summers' last show – the celebration of her life.Ann, wardrobe mistress at both the old Ipswich Arts Theatre and the Wolsey, planned her own non-religious farewell for her family and friends full of music and poetry.

THERE was a full house, in fact, standing room only for Ann Summers' last show – the celebration of her life.

Ann, wardrobe mistress at both the old Ipswich Arts Theatre and the Wolsey, planned her own non-religious farewell for her family and friends full of music and poetry.

Brian Ralph, who acted at the Wolsey many times and is now head of drama at Suffolk College, said in his address that Ann would have called yesterday's gathering at Ipswich Crematorium a good turn out for a Wednesday afternoon matinee.

She was as courageous facing death as she was inventive and clever at her job and, he said, she had told him exactly what she wanted done at her final farewell.


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The music included the Berlin Philharmonic, a Mozart Sonata, the duet and chorus from Haydn's The Creation, dome epais from Lakme sung by Leslie Garrett and Barbara Cook singing When You Wish Upon a Star.

Amber Dennis, one of Ann's five grandchildren, read an excerpt from William Cullen Bryant's poem Thanatopsis.

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Mr Ralph said Ann, 65, had been a vital part of the visual beauty and glory of the great days of the Wolsey under Dick Tuckey, praising her extraordinary abililty to interpret exactly what the designer wanted.

Mr Tuckey was unable to attend The Farewell to Ann and a Celebration of Her Life, but his wife Nan, in an address full of warm memories, praised Anne's immaculate professionalism and the bravery and vitality with which she faced her illness.

Albeit in a wheelchair, Ann attended a performance of A Family Affair at the Wolsey a few days before she died.

Among those saying goodbye yesterday was her partner of 30 years, Mick Vince, her daughters, Jordan and Abra, and a host of friends and colleagues, some going back to her earliest day in the theatre.

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