A PASSIONATE theatre supporter who gave her all both on, and off stage, has died.
Tributes have been paid to Eileen Dobson, who dedicated her life to securing the Kings Theatre in Southsea, for future generations.
Eileen Dobson had theatre in her blood and always gave her all –both on and off stageRon Hasker
Miss Dobson, who was 86, spent her early life in New Zealand as her father served in the Royal Navy.
After leaving school she worked for Berlei lingerie company in New York, as a bra fitter and made the most of being close to Broadway. She took in shows such as The King and I and Gypsy, with Ethel Merman.
Michael Williams, director of the Kings Theatre Trust, said: ‘Perhaps it was there that she acquired the love of performing.
‘She became a strong and active supporter of amateur theatre throughout her life.
‘Always a willing voice of encouragement and appreciation of all the hard work that has seen the Kings Theatre develop over the years. Eileen will be sadly missed.’
Miss Dobson, who lived in Milton, made a huge contribution to local drama and musical theatre.
As well as performing, she was president of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and travelled hundreds of thousands of miles to attend shows and meetings.
She was a member of The Portsmouth Players and was one of the founders of the Players’ 11-to-18 youth theatre group.
As well as being patron of many other groups, she was one of the founders of Action for Kings Theatre Restoration.
Mr Williams added: ‘As a director of the Kings Theatre Trust since 2001, wherever she went and whatever she saw, Eileen would always be positive in her reactions.
‘If she did not particularly like a show she would often say “That was interesting”.’
Chairman of the Kings Theatre Trust Ron Hasker said, ‘Eileen had theatre in her blood and always gave her all both on and off stage.
‘We will always be grateful for her great contribution to The Kings Theatre and as such her association will not be forgotten.’
Miss Dobson, who never married and had no children, passed away peacefully at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.
Her funeral will take place at Portchester Crematorium on Wednesday, July 15, at midday.
Eileen Dobson, born October 21, 1928. Died June, 27, 2015