It is with great sadness that that we tell of the passing of Geoff Miller.
Geoff and Maureen (his wife who passed away in December) – came up to the area to retire in the area nearly 20 years ago. They both became very active members of the group with Maureen concentrating on costumes, fundraising and Front of House with Geoff taking to the stage as our set designer, constructor and often stage manager. They both served on the committee and ultimately influenced the group to become a SCIO.
His first show with us was “The Sound of Music” in 2001 where he and Jamie Smith built a very extensive set of sets and from then there was no stopping him.
It was at a time where there was not a lot of money about to put on shows and his ingenuity and skill in building and inventing was extraordinary. Trucks, moving trucks, folding trucks, big and small came forth from his garage (he always wanted a bigger one !) and from the farm – where he would “freeze his ****** off “ he would tell us (this eventually led us to constructing in the relative warm of the hotel which allowed the male members of the society to retain some of their anatomy). He also made a full size police box , helped engineer a Dalek and gave us the wonderful sewer set for “Guys’ and Dolls”.
Perhaps the pinnacle (or not) was the creation and operation of an exploding cuckoo clock for which he even had his photo an biography included in the programme for “Crazy for You” credited as “handler” for Cecil the Stunt Cuckoo… we jest not.
Having retired from a high technical engineering level in BT his understanding of cabling, connections and systems was a great asset as was his knowledge of radio mics and other equipment which he maintained.
His love of smoke was legendary – often the set would be nicely obscured by too much smoke leading to the phrase “Geoff’s in!” even when we would go to see professional shows where smoke attempted to upstage the actors. His uniform of a headtorch, utility belt, electric powered screwdriver / drill and other tools hanging from him also earned him the nickname “Geoff of Borg” in some quarters as he advanced out of the gloom with a chuckle of ‘ello mate!
He was determined that Spotlight should better itself with each show technically and was a stick in the mud for procedures, safety and practicality (probably harking back to his BT days)
A kind man with a wicked black sense of humour, Geoff was always up for a laugh – although his addition to a painted frog on a stick to give it testicles and a “proud penis” never actually made it to a performance (as far as we know) despite many attempts with him reattaching said objects to the prop after they had been removed…..ready for the next performance.
He did many full shows and pantomimes with us before moving onto other projects and interests over the last few years (although his microphones and cables regularly “came out to play” for productions)
Even towards the end of his journey he was still full of life and ready with an anecdote from his working days – or near stage disasters and his wicked sense of humour came out.
We thank you Geoff for all you did for us as our co-worker, colleague and friend – your influence and dedication still can be seen within the group today.
See you later mate!