There will be much written today about the great actor Pete Postlethwaite, who has died at the age of 64 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Postlethwaite was described by Steven Spielberg, with who he worked on films including Jurassic Park: The Lost World, as “the best actor in the world”.
Postlethwaite had strong connections to Bristol. After briefly being a teacher, he trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and remained close to the city and his alma mater.
In 2002, Postlethwaite starred in one-man play Scaramouche Jones at the Old Vic, telling the BBC: “I’m still in touch with the Old Vic School and it is gratifying to come back here to start the tour off.
“My experience at the Old Vic was when I started to feel and understand the power of theatre.”
In an interview, he said that one of his career highlights to date was working at the Old Vic with Adrian Noble and Bob Crowley before he went on to do more film work.
The Oscar-nominated actor was last at the Old Vic in 2008, when he attended a public meeting to lend his support to the campaign to save the historic theatre.
Postlethwaite was also a firm supporter of the Watershed. “I love the philosophy of a venue like the Watershed,” he said. “It makes really exciting projects available to a varied public. That’s what I like about it, it goes across the age ranges, across the intellectual gap, it’s such a cosmopolitan place. They’re adventurous and they try things.”
His love of the Watershed remains permanently etched in Cinema Three with his name on the back of one of the seats.
In 1996, Postlethwaite helped Watershed director Dick Penny, a friend from their days at Bristol’s Little Theatre, and Jeremy Irons, make every seat in every cinema in this country, on one specific day, to be purchased at a cost of just one pound.
Pete Postlethwaite was one of the finest actors of his generation. His love of acting started here in Bristol and he never forgot the debt of gratitude he owed to this city, a mark of a great man who will be sadly missed.