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KayK

KAY KORÉ (LOCKER)

Group Director, The Young Theatre (at Harrow) : 1969-71
Honorary Life Member of The Young Theatre 1992-2022

Sadly we have to report that Kay Koré died in mid-January 2022 after a nearly eighteen month battle with terminal liver cancer. When diagnosed in 2020 she was given a ‘deadline’ of just three months but typically she decided to ignore that prognosis! She said in her most recent Christmas letter to IRW that it was “the longest three months of my life” but that things had become slowly and progressively more difficult and painful for her over recent times and she was “ready to depart”. Now she can rest in peace.

Kay played an integral and vitally important part in the establishment and development of The Young Theatre at North Harrow and she was an Honorary Life Member of The Young Theatre at Beaconsfield. I think it’s safe to say that she left her mark on many a production over the years – and not a few performances!!

Importance YTNH em

Kay (centre) playing Lady Bracknell in YT North Harrow’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 1972...

...and amongst other things “painfully” playing a sinking Spanish galleon going down guns blazing in YTs 1967 production of “The Critic”.

Kay is also, of course, remembered in the Beaconsfield annual presentation to the senior member who contributes the most, in whatever capacity, to YT – which was rather rudely called the Kay Koré Memorial Rosebowl by some old-timers.

After training as a dancer, she went into rep – initially as a lighting designer/engineer at Chelmsford Civic Theatre, then as an ASM at Colchester Rep. Turning down promotion to Stage Manager, she opted to become Group Director of YT at North Harrow whilst making ends meet by working in the Royal Opera House Production Wardrobe. After that she spent 20 years at the Public Record Office (now the National Archives); and then worked as counsellor/psychotherapist.

She also continued working with YT off and on until the Harrow branch closed in 1982, directing (a high-spot being taking St George and the Dragon round local parks on a horse and cart for the Queen’s silver jubilee); production managing; and generally doing anything and everything.

After retiring and moving to Lancashire in 2005, she typically veered off into a new career as a volunteer at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, helping rehabilitate traumatised sight-hounds – and being as she described it a ‘general dogsbody’! However she did maintain a theatrical flourish by running the coconut shies on Open Days in glittering hat and waistcoat, and ‘barking’ with the best!

Why the name? Well – she blames that on IRW who demanded (circumstances lost in the mists of time) a stage name at a couple of hours' notice. Koré is the unforbidden name of Persephone, so an early bit of acting.

Kay believed that with both life and YT, you get out of it in proportion to what you put in; and that if you do it with humour, delight and a sense of purpose you'll double the impact and halve the pain. That went for the process of dying too. Just six months before she died, IRW asked her if she’d like to update her Archive “CV” …which she did – and she added this final paragraph…

“She died on (insert date) defying the odds by surviving not three but (insert number) months, and proceeded to the crematorium with characteristic dignity in a coffin decorated with a rainbow of balloons stuck on with gaffer tape (technician to the last gasp and beyond). It is rumoured that loud banging and muffled oaths were heard as the coffin slid majestically from view – but maybe that was just the workmen outside! At least the Kay Koré Memorial Rosebowl can now live up to its sardonic nickname!! “

Typical Kay to the last trump!!

IRW

January 2022

You can donate to the Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary where Kay spent so much time helping. Please include “In memory of Kay Koré/Locker”

 
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