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Leopard’s Club to honour Richardson

A publishing and theatre company is to celebrate veteran actor and former Leopards Club president Denny Richardson at a special event this weekend.

Mr Richardson, 78, said he has enjoyed theatre, particularly Shakespeare, since he was a child.

But he admitted the words did not always come easily.

He said: “When I was in Elliot School, we had a teacher who had just left Berkeley Institute, and he decided to see how capable we were at Shakespeare.

“He tasked us with memorising a passage from Shakespeare, and I didn't memorise it. The punishment in those days was we had to stay in and write it out ten times.

“Having written it out ten times, certainly I remember it and I never forgot it.”

Mr Richardson said he continued to learn Shakespeare while he was at the Berkeley Institute and acted in shows across the island.

Mr Richardson also worked with writers including Dale Butler and Shangri-La Durham Thompson to bring their shows to life.

Dale Butler of event organisers Atlantic Publishing House, said he was looking forward to the celebration of Mr Richardson's contribution to Bermuda culture

The tribute, called A Man for all Seasons, will feature highlights of Mr Richardson's time on stage.

Mr Butler added: “Denny has worked very hard at his craft of acting from his time in school up until his illness a few years ago.

“With Atlantic Publishing House, he brought experience and needed little direction during rehearsals. He was also able to offer sound advice.”

Mr Richardson said he and his seven brothers and sisters grew up on Knapton Hill in Smiths and he paid his own way through high school.

He explained: “I had to find my own funding because I was from a large family and in those days we had to find money [to pay for schooling beyond age 13]. So I found work, and I have been working ever since.

“I worked in construction for a while in high school. I learnt construction, and that helped me make the decision where I was going to work.

“I went to work from high school, but the desire to be further educated was always on my mind so I worked, saved money, went through night school and eventually saved enough money to go to England for the Higher National Diploma at 32.”

Mr Richardson said the Leopards Club's weekly radio show, and its theme song, that encouraged him to join the club in the 1970s.

He said: “Their theme song, which they had on their radio broadcasts every week, was Lift Every Voice and Sing.

“That stood out in my mind because we used to sing that same song at elementary school. It was a theme for blacks to attach themselves to something meaningful.

“It stayed in my mind, and I wanted to be a part of a place that would have this as their theme song.”

He added: “I didn't think I would become the president.”

Mr Richardson said most of the club's members were craftsmen who worked in construction when he joined.

He added: “The fact that we renovated these two buildings we bought was part of the self-help attitude that the members of this club had.

“You could learn from other people who were already here and skilled and expand your horizons.

“That experience you couldn't get just anywhere. The combination of skill sets they had here were ideal for young people to learn from. For a young man at the time, it was ideal.”

The Tribute to Denny Richardson will be held at the Leopards Club on Sunday, starting at 6pm. Tickets cost $45.

For more information or for tickets, contact Dale Butler at 595-9841

Stentorian voice: Denny Richardson with his wife, Constance (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

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Published September 20, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 20, 2018 at 9:18 am)

Leopard’s Club to honour Richardson

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