Stalwart of over 45 productions

18:41, Oct 07 2012

A New Plymouth man widely known for his creativity and piano playing skills died peacefully at Brooklands Rest Home last week.

New Plymouth Operatic Society life member Barry Sturmey died aged 79 after giving many creative years to the society and its productions.

Mr Sturmey was involved in more than 45 productions, predominantly as a stage manager, set designer and painting supervisor.

His first involvement is traced back to the society's first production December Song in 1952. However, his name first appeared in the programme in the 1956 production of Belle of New York.

His only only on-stage appearance was when he and son Graeme were in the cast of Tarantara Tarantara.

A NPOS spokesman said those in the society had many fond memories of Mr Sturmey.


"In particular his ability to play the piano for hours at the Robe St rooms and the basement parties, providing he was kept lubricated with the odd beer or two."

Mr Sturmey served on the NPOS committee from 1979 to 1987, and was made a life member in 1997.

Daughter Sheryl Davison, also heavily involved with the society, said her father was a quiet and private person who did not like the limelight. However, he loved his music.

"He had a wealth of knowledge and was a very humble man, and was very, very clever and creative."

Mrs Davison said he continued to create things in his later years, and his most recent project was to make letterboxes for Riding for the Disabled kids to deliver letters to. She said he would be greatly missed by all who knew him.

"You realise now with people ringing and calling how well respected he was and how many lives he touched. They're all coming out of the woodwork now," she said.

He is survived by three children and three grandchildren.

Taranaki Daily News