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News (Alberta): Theatre Alberta Celebrates the Life of Thomas Peacocke (1933-2022) – Jan Selman

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News (Alberta): Theatre Alberta Celebrates the Life of Thomas Peacocke (1933-2022) – Jan Selman

In light of the loss of Tom Peacocke, Theatre Alberta reached out to Jan Selman to compose a tribute piece celebrating his life and accomplishments. We have also included some links and relevant pieces that speak to Tom’s life.

Please consider making a donation to the Tom and Judith Peacocke Endowment Fund to support awards, scholarships and causes important to both of them. Please follow this link to find out more about Tom and Judy and how to donate: https://www.ecfoundation.org/funds/tom-judith-peacocke-endowment-fund/

While we mourn the recent death of Tom Peacocke, we also celebrate his life! What an artist, teacher, mentor and leader. For decades, Tom built Albertan and Canadian Theatre and was a tireless advocate for the arts. Recognition of Tom’s contributions came in many forms, including the Order of Canada, University of Alberta Alumni Award, Lifetime Achievement awards from the Sterlings and ATCO Gas, among many others.

Tom was an exciting actor, playing stage roles such as Willy Loman in Vancouver Playhouse’s A Death of a Salesman and creating the fiery priest/teacher/coach Père Murray, in The Hounds of Notre Dame, for which he won a Best Actor Genie Award.

Despite these outstanding accomplishments, it is Tom’s impact on decades of acting and directing students that particularly stands out. As word of his death circulates, accolades abound! Common themes from U of A’s BFA Acting alumni highlight his tough, direct, yet caring approach — he championed bold yet authentic work, coaching actors to offer deeply relational performances. Decades of grads recognize his sometimes fierce and always committed engagement with each student. He led the BFA Acting program for many years, mentoring teachers as well as students!

MFA Directing grads laud his blunt and insightful mentorship. Director after director recall his delightfully bothersome and influential questions – questions that remain with us to this day.

Tom enthusiastically advocated for Canada’s professional theatre, keeping in touch with generations of alumni, building networks, seeing performances, making work for emerging actors ‘between gigs’, and talking shop. He enriched our theatre through membership on boards, review panels, and more. What a force!

Tom Peacocke had many career options. Yet he chose to stay here in Alberta, building and cheering as emerging artists turned into leaders. What a mentor. What a human.

—Jan Selman

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