David Bushby

DAVID Bushby, who has died aged 70, was prominent on the York amateur theatre scene for over 40 years, running the 
Joseph Rowntree Theatre on behalf of Rowntrees and later Nestlé.

Starting as a stage and props manager, Mr Bushby worked his way up to the role of theatre manager. He was appointed in 1970 and retired in 2001 when the theatre’s management was restructured.

His duties – stage management, supervising, making arrangements with the city’s amateur theatre societies, programming, front-of-house management, lighting and sound – were taken over by a team of volunteers.

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Mr Bushby was born in York, and his involvement in theatre began when he was waiting outside the York Youth Operatic and Choral Society at the old Priory Youth Club for his girlfriend to come out.

He was called in, and was eventually persuaded to join the society – without auditioning.

After a couple of years performing, it was clear that singing was not his strong point, and having received a tool kit among his wedding presents, and being too old by then to perform for York Youth, he took over the stage management.

He had served his apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker at Cooks, Troughton and Simms and at 21 he joined Rowntrees, constructing air conditioning, repairing metal pallets and so on.

Having become involved with the City Opera Group which
used the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, he was soon in demand as stage manager and props master for nearly every society performing there, and he also became a voluntary helper at the theatre.

Such was his contribution
that when George Watson had
to suggest a successor for his
full-time post as theatre consultant, he recommended Mr Bushby.

He took over, and, happy to be behind the scenes, was in his element. Accommodating and diplomatic, he looked for the best in people, and would help whoever he could as much as he could, seeing the start of many now familiar names in the entertainment world.

He shared his love of theatre with his children, and for his son Peter it has become a major part of his life.

Mr Bushby derived great pleasure from music, his taste ranging from the classics of ballet and piano to operetta and musicals.

He enjoyed watching cricket and rugby and, while he was still fit, walking in the Dales and on the moors.

Mr Bushby is survived by his wife Liz and his children Carol and Peter by a previous marriage, and two grandchildren.