I had the sad duty this week of writing a news post about the passing of Phil Ward. It was certainly a great shock to me and no doubt to those much closer to Phil than I.
In the three years I spent at Nottingham Trent University I built up a good friendship with Phil that sadly I was unable to sustain after graduation, though I did pop back to visit both him and other staff members from time to time. The last time I saw Phil he was frantically pleading with the NTU’s Theatre Design Department then wardrobe supervisor Lesley Lindsay begging her to mend a tear in a shirt that his wife Annie had bought for him only days before.
I’ve been reminded of so many memories of Phil these last few days it’s hard to figure out which to share: The stories of our antics in the Pub? One particular memory I have was some silly competition to see who could keep a metal retractable tape measure upright and fully extended for the longest period – Phil lost miserably just behind Alex Wyatt and I managed to steal victory and first place from Liam Doona, happy silly times!
Then there are all those “quick pints” in the Pub after we we’re all thrown out of the workshop or design studio because the caretakers wanted to pack up and go home.
Primarily I remember Phil as an honest, caring devoted family man first and a dedicated hard working theatre professional second. Phil was a theatre designer’s dream. He “dealt” with problems as personal challenges – if you took him a design that seemed impossible to construct or realise he’d make it his personal goal of the day to figure out a solution… and it didn’t matter if he was working on the project or not – anyone, any student could go to Phil with any problem at any time.
His abundance of enthusiasm, life and energy makes his passing even more difficult to come to terms with. My thoughts go out to his wife and two daughters (His son Tom having sadly passed away last year).