One Theatre Fan's Encounter with Simon Gipps-Kent
I “met” Simon Gipps-Kent
Tony, with whom I collected, and I only took autographs on photographs and, for most of the play’s run, none of the collectors shops had been able to help us. Eventually, we got a call from “Flashbacks”, then a regular London haunt of film buffs and collectors, saying they had something.
James Mason with Simon Gipps-Kent in 1974's Great Expectations.
Timothy Read tells us what it was like to meet Simon Gipps-Kent in 1986.
January 3rd was a bright but cold day and when Simon came along, he was well bundled-up in a heavy coat and gloves, awkwardly carrying a large plastic cup of tea or coffee.
At 27, he still looked young and boyish, little changed from his teen years. He seemed very surprised to find us waiting for him and gave a shy, but friendly, smile as we approached. When he saw the photograph, he was quite astonished and immediately asked “How on earth did you come by it?”. After we had explained, he studied the photo and spoke flatteringly of how helpful James Mason had been and of how privileged he had felt working with him.
He popped the plastic cup inside the stage door and came back to us, gloves off and ready to sign the picture. He was then further amazed to be offered a fountain pen - by this time, most collectors were using ballpoints or felt-tips. “I must be very careful with this,” he said and signed the picture very thoughtfully.
We asked him what plans he had for the future and he said that, beyond the upcoming tour of Adrian, he had no fixed plans, though he hoped to be doing more stage work.
We shook hands and he thanked us warmly for our interest and said he hoped to see us again. Sadly, that was not to be. We do, though, retain happy memories of him that wintry day when he seemed so bright and happy and full of hope for the future.
March 4, 2013
We wish to thank Timothy Read for sharing with us his experience of meeting Simon Gipps-Kent.
If you have a similar story to tell, we would really like to hear from you. Please write us!