Thursday, February 21, 2013

Obituary for John Henry Doyle, Theatre Master

Photo: SFRT PSA - 
John Doyle has left this early plane:
The world is a little emptier tonight, a giant has left us. He always told me I was going to miss him one day, it's not even over and I do a contemporary (which he would never admit), teacher, mentor, friend and brother...this day will not go quietlyObituary for John Henry Doyle

John H. Doyle has been a prolific figure in theatre community since 1969. On February 20, 2013 at the age of 65 he passed away.

John attended Laney Junior College then later transferred to San Francisco State University. In 1970 he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama; then obtained his Teachers Credential from UC Berkeley.

He taught and led workshops in several community centers, theatres, and academic institutions, including: San Francisco State University, Laney Junior College, City College of San Francisco, Berkeley High School, and San Francisco School for the Performing Arts.

He also directed for numerous companies: American Conservatory Theatre, Oakland Ensemble Theatre, Julian Theatre, Black Repertory Theatre, and Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, etc… He was devoted to training actors and mounting plays that expressed the concerns of the black community. One of his major accomplishments was training renowned actor Danny Glover.

John received several awards, including: Bay Area Critic Award, honors at the Northern California Collegiate Theatre Festival, Zellerbach Family Grant to develop a Third World Playwright Workshop, California Arts Council and Northern Endowment for the Arts Grant, and a Berkeley Arts Fund Grant to start a Multi-Cultural School for the Performing Arts.

John was born in Rizal, Manila to Mary & Henry Doyle, now deceased. He is survived by three sons, one brother, five sisters, four grandchildren, one sister-in-law & one brother-in-law, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

“I lost not only my brother-but my best friend”, Robert Doyle said.

Viewing is Friday, March 1, 2013 from 5-8 p.m. at Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, CA. Memorial Service is March 2, 2013 at 11 a.m. at Chapel of the Chimes.

For theatre historians, a lot of Bay Area black theatre history has died with the transition of  John Henry Doyle, to say nothing of Stanley Williams and Quinten Easter of the Loraine Hansberry Theatre. In Boston, playwright Ed Bullins is fragile after suffering a fall that included partial loss of memory. I am  presently organizing the Community Archive Project to educate people to value their archives, just as important as the archives in the libraries of Timbuktu that were recently ransacked and set afire by Islamic Vandals. Imagine the Black theatre history John Doyle departed here with! Were his archives thrown into the dustbin of history?
A giant genius has left us down here on the ground. John H. Doyle was a master theatre man who continued in the tradition of Black Arts West and the national Black Arts Movement. Perhaps his greatest contribution to Bay Area Theatre was producing and directing the plays of another national genius, Ed Bullins. He also directed a version of my One Day in the Life at the Malonga Arts in Oakland. We love you, John Henry Doyle!
--Marvin X, Black Arts Movement

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