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Theatre man dies of cancer.

A DRAMA teacher and semi-professional theatre director has died of cancer.

Eric Peel, who was known to many amateur theatre performers in the region, was 66.

Born in North Shields, he went from Tynemouth High School to Westminster College to study theo logy.

He then trained as a teacher, specialising in RE, and became a Methodist lay preacher. At his first teaching job, Eric was asked to produce and direct a school play, and began his long career as a director with Julius Caes ar.

While living in London, he joined the Mountview Theatre and began to develop and hone his theatre skills.

Later, he resumed school productions in earnest at Tynemouth Technical College and began a long association with the People's Theatre, where he met his wife Clare, and with Tynemouth Amateur Operatic Society.

His work ranged from Shakespeare and Shaw to popular musicals like Cats and Kiss me Kate.

In his later years, he became increasingly involved with St Mary's Church in Monkseaton.

After three years as church warden, he continued to take a lead in many other aspects of the church's work, culminating in March with Tony Harrison's play The Passion, about Jesus's last days.

Performed in the church by members of the congregation, the three presentations were performed for full-house audiences before Easter.

It was at that time that Eric learned he had cancer of the pancreas. He died on May 19.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 29, 2008
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