Thursday, January 19, 2023

Notable theatre and arts critic Bob Eveleigh dead at 86.

by Thinus Ferreira

The indefatigable South African theatre and arts critic and reporter Bob Eveleigh has died from Covid-19 complications. He was 86.

The Herald newspaper where he had worked for decades reported Christopher Robert Eveleigh's death on Thursday, after his family confirmed that he had died early on Wednesday morning. 

Bob Eveleigh fell ill on Wednesday last week and was admitted to a hospital in Gqeberha where he was placed on a drip and received oxygen.

The beloved arts critic and reporter started out as an insurance broker but moved into arts journalism in 1973.

As an influential writer, journalist and columnist, Bob Eveleigh's passion was promoting and covering arts - especially theatre, although he covered all forms of art, including film and television - and served as the arts and entertainment editor of The Herald, The Evening Post and The Weekend Post from 1980 to 2007.

He continued covering arts and culture as a freelance writer for the past 15 years.

In 1991 Bob Eveleigh founded the annual Port Elizabeth Showtime Awards.

"Bob had a wealth of global show business knowledge and was instrumental in the development of many young musical theatre actors’ careers through his annual Showtime productions," his niece Nici Lovemore, who is also the chairperson of the Port Elizabeth Dance Festival Committee, wrote on Facebook.  

"His Showtime Awards have become coveted and prestigious acknowledgements of local theatre excellence. You shone a unique, extraordinary light Uncle Bobby. You will be greatly missed. There will be a small, private funeral for family only."

Linda-Louise Swain, co-founder of the Rother Swain Drama Studio and drama teacher, wrote on Facebook that Bob was "such an example of pure joie de vivre for the arts, energy and endless vision for the next project".

"Your many years as arts editor are a tribute to the dedicated journalist that you were. Fly free, special soul."

The Eastern Cape South African Championships of Performing Arts (Sacopa) said Bob "had the utmost respect for the world of the performing arts and its people, he showed kindness and compassion towards up and coming performers and wrote fair reviews true to his character. He was truly a cornerstone of the theatre community, a true force to be reckoned with who ensured that the world knew about the endless talent in the Eastern Cape".

Bob Eveleigh leaves behind his wife Glenda with the couple who have been married for 57 years.