His funeral is private but a memorial roast will be held at The Indee Theatre on Saturday August 12th with all proceeds going to Cittamani.
Co-founder of The Indee Theatre, Philip Chappell, died on Sunday (28/5/06) after a long battle with cancer.
Philip Chappell was the finest of actors, someone whose craft was learnt from a very early age in the UK. As a young man just on twenty he was chosen to tour in Alan Bennnett's 40 Years On. The lead in the play was Sir John Gielgud. It was a huge success and after threading its way through the provinces it had a solid run in London. Constant work followed and Philip was one of the urchins in the first national touring company of Oliver.
His mature years were spent freelancing in radio and tv commercials, stage plays, both touring and in London's West End, stage manager for the Ballet Rousse and in such television series as Z Cars.
He moved to Australia and married wife Pru in Sydney. He worked in various capacities before they decided to relocate to the Sunshine Coast 15 years ago and first lived in Noosa.
This put Philip within a stone's throw of Noosa Arts Theatre and while it wasn't professional theatre the bug once again was biting. He appeared in a number of plays, Bullshot Crummond and Our Miss Flynt and was a great strength but he'd always had an ambition to direct. His chance came when he put an entry, The Lovers, into the Coast's Theatre Festival. It won everything available to it, including Best Play and Best Director. A short time later he joined with John and Carol Burls to form The Independent Theatre and their initial four productions were penned by John and directed by Philip.
They later opened at Eumundi School of Arts Hall twelve years ago wondering if people would come. The play was A Man For All Seasons and it was a big success.
Over the years Philip, as Artistic Director, acted in or directed many dozens of original plays penned by John Burls. He directed Lenny & Lee in which he also played Lee Gordon and co-starred with Steven Moore. The play won every award available to it at the Coast theatre festival and went on to score award after award on the south-east Queensland theatre festival circuit. Philip followed it up with Deceit in which he played a low-life hotel janitor. Again the play won stacks of awards.
He loved directing off-beat plays and horror plays. His direction of Veronica's Room was superb theatre, as was The Holy Terror, The Exorcism and Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell. When he portrayed the mentally unbalanced brother in Playing Sinatra, directed by Carol Burns, it won for him Best Actor In A Drama at the STAR Awards plus Performer of the Year. His ability to switch into cardboard cutout roles as in the long-running Up Eumundi Road, gained him further accolades.
In recent years Philip Chappell branched into playwriting, a side he'd never previously tried his hand at and came up with an award winning one-act piece,.in which he also performed. His first attempt at a full-length play saw him short-listed for the Premier's Award and the play was work-shopped by the QTC. .
Philip first fell ill while directing Popcorn for Jally Productions. He was diagnosed with cancer of both lungs. Two operation were declared a success but during a follow-on check-up it was discovered he had a further type of cancer in the throat. After extensive treatment this also returned a clear verdict.
Feeling the itch of theatre he returned to The Indee stage last year to play the father in The Philadelphia Story and played it superbly but on a number of occasions he became disorientated. A further check-up revealed that he had numerous brain tumours. Refusing to give in he started rehearsals for a play that he had become passionate about - The Woman In Black. He videotaped some of his planning for the play, held cast briefings and readings but quickly found taking the rehearsals beyond him. He passed away on the opening weekend of the play.
Graphics to the right:
Sir John Gielgud and some of the cast of Forty Years On, Apollo Theatre, October 1968