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Friday, December 28, 2012


(Pic courtesy of Playhouse Archives)
Tribute to the late Eva Parsons from Beth McKey

I worked with Eva for most of the 20 odd years I worked at NAPAC/The Playhouse Company.

Eva worked in the Maintenance Wardrobe, with Flavia Zunckel, looking after the upkeep of the current production’s costumes and also working in the evenings as a senior dresser. Maintenance meant that you had to affect all repairs to the costumes, wash and iron them, clean the shoes and repaint where necessary, then make sure all the costumes were returned to their correct dressing rooms.

You were also required, from time to time, to travel with the production around Natal once it went ‘on the road’ so packing and unpacking of costumes were added to the list. We toured productions extensively in those days: dramas, musicals, ballet etc all requiring maintenance of costumes.

Once we moved to the Playhouse and became The Playhouse Company, Eva continued to work in the Maintenance Wardrobe on the 6th floor. After Flavia retired, Eva worked with Yvonne Oosthuizen and then finally, when Yvonne left, Eva became Head of Maintenance Wardrobe. She was in charge of a permanent staff of maintenance ladies and also in charge of the numerous ad hoc dressers employed to work on the many Playhouse Productions.

Through all of the above, I never once heard Eva raise her voice or saw her lose her temper – a near impossible task when working in the theatre, as all thespians reading this will agree! Even when the going got tough, such as during Geoffrey Sutherland’s Singing In The Rain when the quick changes came thick and fast, Eva kept her cool yet firm control on her staff. 

I will always remember Eva as a person of extreme integrity, a very gracious and elegant lady who always managed to run around The Playhouse in heels when the rest of us could only manage takkies!!

Rest in Peace, Eva Parsons – you deserve it.  Finally, my sincere condolences to her daughter, Bemal and her family, Eva will never be forgotten. – Beth McKey