It is with great sorrow that team Encompass has learnt today of the death of Graham Christopher, beloved actor and friend. We send our sincerest condolences to all of his family and friends at this difficult time.
We first met Graham after a performance of This is Not a Christmas Play, he came to support one of our cast members whom he had just been in a production with. He then came to a Bare Essentials show. Even from these early encounters his warmth was entirely evident - and it was a true delight to see his passion for theatre and acting. A few weeks later he would send us his showreel - and from this we knew that he was a talent we'd be privileged to work with.
In the summer of 2015 we finally had the pleasure of Graham acting for us in Confessions A Deux, a comedy play for Bare Essentials that would end up being his last theatre role. Playing 'Father Gregory', Graham took complete ownership of his character and revelled in the chance to make people smile and laugh, as we're sure he did in everyday life. He was a pleasure for all to work with and his performance was a true highlight - the loudest laughs and cackles came from this little gem every night! Yet despite being a real 'star of the show' Graham remained humble and thankful to 'have been given the opportunity' - wonderfully failing to see that it was actually us, who had been given the opportunity to work with him.
So enthused were we by our first collaboration, that it wasn't long before we contacted him for another role. Unfortunately the phonecall we got from him in return wasn't necessarily the one we were expecting. Yet speaking to Graham about his illness, it was incredible to see the bravery and optimism he had, in the face of so much pain and suffering. That, perhaps even more than his talent, was most inspiring.
Whilst we won't ever get to work with Graham again, we are supremely honoured that we had the chance to when we did. And whilst the news of his passing is one of life's great disappointments, it is our time with him that has given us some of our fondest memories. The Graham we remember will be the man who had great humility as a person, yet as an actor performed with aplomb. The Graham we remember always had the kindest smile. The Graham we remember wasn't afraid to dance in the rain as we all celebrated another night of doing what we love. Those memories are everlasting. Thank you for everything Graham, may you rest in peace.