Terry Judd, Co-Artistic Director and Founder of Theatre Beyond Words, in memoriam

The family hosted a celebration of Terry’s life on Sunday April 26 from 1 – 4 pm at the Community Centre, 14 Anderson Lane (just off Hwy 55/Stone Road) in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Spoken memories of Terry, a DVD of some of Terry’s work and a slide show of special family moments were presented from 1:30 – 2:30 pm.   This was followed by time for visiting, storytelling and raising a glass to a life well lived.

We are very saddened to learn of the passing of our dear colleague and friend, the late Terry Judd, one of the original six co-founders of Theatre Beyond Words.

Theatre Beyond Words was founded as a creation collective in 1977 and three of the original six members, Robin Patterson, Terry Judd and Harro Maskow were until recently still actively involved with the company.  Before they were called TBW they were a company with Adrian Pecknold called the Canadian Mime Company, and ran a Canadian Mime School in the Niagara-on-the-Lake Courthouse that Shaw now uses for its regular prsenentation program.

The ensemble develops original physical theatre works for both young and adult audiences – the ratio is about half and half.  TBW is renowned for its fine artistic productions that transcend language barriers through the innovative uses of masks, puppetry, visual images, text and music.

The work is created in the Niagara Region. Some of it has toured to schools and studio theatres in Ontario; much has toured to the general public in 10 provinces of Canada, 40 states in the USA, and throughout Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldava, Azerbaijan, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kores, Australia and Argentina.  The company has represented Canada at international festivals, EXPOs and prestigious theatres such as the NAC (Ottawa), The National Theatre of Japan (Tokyo), The Lincoln Centre (NYC), The Odessa Opera House (Ukraine), The Pushin Theatre (Moscow), The Gelbenkian Institute (Lisbon) and La Chartreuse (Villeneuve-lez-Avignon).

Theatre Beyond Words is DART and Brock University’s Resident Theatre Company, and have been for almost as long as the university has been in existence. Our colleague Glenys McQueen-Fuentes remarks that ” …although it was perhaps less known in recent years, their partnership with Brock was, back then, a daring and unusually creative move….TBW were at the peak of their work, were the best known physical theatre troupe in Canada, and were traveling around the world annually.  Brock was the ONLY university to have a Resident Theatre Company–and TBW’s annual spring/summer full credit course in physical theatre, mime and mask was also the only such course in physical theatre offered at any university in Canada…and the panorama continued like that for many, many years.  So they and Brock created new inroads in theatre, in theatre in university, and in partnerships between academic institutions and performance art groups, which has continued up to the present. Entire generations of our students were introduced to Theatre Beyond Words from their Potato People school touring series of plays for children and youth, and they were equally enthralled with the more adult non-verbal theatre productions that TBW have presented many times as DART field trips.”

Glenys reminds us that “one of the most valuable undertakings between DART and TBW was in the area of apprenticeships.  TBW held physical theatre workshop sessions, and auditioned participating DART students to be an integral part of their touring group, and many of our graduates were fortunate enough to be trained for and perform in international, national, and provincial tours.  In fact, TBW created a junior company, called “The Spuds” to revisit, invent, and tour both old and new material.  They have been a driving force in our Department!”

Terry and Robin Patterson have taught the Spring intensive course DART 2F04 Introduction to Physical Theatre for many years. Robin and Terry also teach/have taught within the DART program during fall and winter sessions, and they also frequently performed for University projects, such as the annual Soirees, the United Way drives, etc. This past December Terry and Robin co-directed A Commedia Christmas Carol at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York.

The Department of Dramatic Arts honours Terry and TBW for their many contributions to Canadian theatre, to the Niagara Region, and more specifically to and with Brock University.

On Sunday February 15, 2015, Terry died quite peacefully at the St. Catharines General Hospital.  His struggle with Leukemia, conflicting heart problems and then pneumonia was finally too much for his system to bear.  He passed away quite peacefully with family by his side.

Our hearts go out to Robin and Harro and their families.

Please see this page for further information.

To submit a comment or share a memory about Terry, please e-mail dramatic.arts@brocku.ca

a selection of comments marked ‘public’ are posted below
(with material from the Theatre Beyond Words website)

From the Theatre Beyond Words website:

“Terry Judd, Co-Artistic Director
A graduate of Wilfred Laurier U. in Waterloo, ON, Terry is a founding member of Theatre Beyond Words and has performed, written and directed for the company from its inception to the present.  He teaches physical theatre credit courses part time at Brock U, St. Catharines, ON and Niagara U, NF, NY.

Other theatre credits include the Stratford Festival where he won the Chalmers Apprentice Award; the Manitoba Theatre Centre; Neptune Theatre; the National Arts Centre; and the Shaw Festival.  He was also one of the original members of the Gryphon Theatre Company in Barrie.  Terry has performed with Carousel Players in productions of The Lion,the Witch and the WardrobePatty’s Cake and George and Martha; and with Odyssey Theatre, Ottawa in the commedia dell’arte productions of The Wedding and Bungsu and the Big Snake.

Most recently for TBW, he performed in Silly Old Men Ought Not to Fall in Love (2003-2005); was part of the creative team and performed in the Canadian tour of the Argentinean co-production Imaginarius (2004-2007); and continues to perform in the 30th anniversary lecture-demonstration Journey Behind the Mask.  He was Co-Director for the Niagara University production of Night Train to Foggy Bottom (2008).  In 2009 he performed in the TBW première of Gifts from the Heart and played Sir Simon de Canterville in the Shaw Festival/TBW workshop of The Canterville Ghost.”

Selected comments from our community:

Name: Mikko Kivisto
Location: St. Catharines, ON
When and how did you know Terry?: As a student of DART 2F04, Summer 2013
Your comments: I had the pleasure of learning about physical theatre from Terry and Robin back in the Summer of 2013. Terry was was a kind and warm soul, full of encouragement and support for the students. My relationship with Terry continued beyond the classroom, as I worked on a research paper on Theatre Beyond Words the following year, and as a front-of-house volunteer. I will miss him very much, and offer my condolences to Robin.

Name: Monique Wengler (Seheult)
Location: Germany
When and how did you know Terry?: I was a part of the TBW company back in around 1990.
Your comments: Thanks to the professional yet personable training of Terry, Robin and Harrow, and the great opportunity that they had given me to travel the world as Nancy Potato, I have wonderful memories to share with my children and many other people whose paths have intertwined with mine. So thank you Terry. Rest in peace… You life’s footprint lives on in many a heart. ❤

Name: Stephanie Jones
Location: Manhattan
When and how did you know Terry?: Theatre, Niagara, Forever
Your comments: I first met Terry in the mid-nineties at Brock as I took the summer course with Theatre Beyond words. I would practice soccer and then leave the practice early to rush off to what my fellow soccer players called, “Clown class”.
Terry knew everyone in arts Niagara and everyone knew him. There wasn’t a person in my life who had not seen a TBW show either at school or in NOTL, and knew of the company. As a student, I was curious as to how Robin and he made a relationship work with all the other tasks to navigate while being an artist and a young mum, and at school they always graciously answered my way too personal questions.
As I grew into my own, they became colleagues and friends, and their generosity of spirit, and easy going way, always made it easy to deal with them no committees and in discussion about our fair region and its future. it made our getting together a delight instead of a task.
He was, and will remain one of the most solid actors I had the privilege to work with, and his zen smile will come back to mind often. You will be missed, Terry, and my thoughts go out to Robin and your family.

Name: maurice yacowar
Location: calgary
When and how did you know Terry?: we met when his company joined Brock
Your comments: I met Terry when we invited his marvellous company to accept residency at Brock. He was a very gentle, insightful man, who easily harnessed the energies, imagination and energies of his inspired troop. He embodied the purity of art. We shall miss him.

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