A Unique Tale of the Imagination
Directing a chorus of giant earth moving machines, 100’s of children in stadiums, trolls, slimy monsters, and mythical creatures in theatres all over the world is not the kind of thing you do everyday. But then Roger Rynd wasn’t the kind of man you meet everyday.
Roger Rynd passed away on June 14 at his home in Seoul. He was 50 years old. Born in Singapore in 1960, Rynd stepped out of another world that was at once anachronistic and timeless. The son of an Anglican priest, Roger grew up in Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, and Charters Towers surrounded by the myths and legends of the Pacific and its many ancient cultures.
His background combined with a powerful imagination, extraordinary energy, fearlessness, and plain cheek saw him develop a unique body of work that has stirred the imagination of hundreds of thousands of children in several continents.
Red haired and skinny, his childhood was at times difficult in the somewhat antedeluvian Charters Towers colonial boarding school world of fags and bullying. He finished his studies in Wellington, New Zealand, before working on the perilous long line fishing boats in Cook Strait in driving wind, rain, and pounding seas. Danger was in his blood.
Rynd washed up in Townsville and studied at James Cook University (Theatre). Upon graduating he formed REM Theatre with Catherine Pease, his lifelong partner, in Brisbane and then Sydney. Over a decade, Rynd and Pease wrote and produced many award winning children’s theatre productions performing at the Sydney Opera House and touring internationally.
After creating Icon, an astonishing work involving choreographing giant earthmoving machines at the Sydney Opera House for its 20th Birthday celebrations, Rynd wrote and directed the Opening Ceremony of the Para Olympics at Homebush Stadium.
In 1997, Rynd became artist in residence at the Seoul Arts Centre. He collaborated with Sadari Theatre, Korea’s pre-eminent company.. They created Chingdomari (1997 ASSITEJ award for Best Play, Best Male Actor, Best Design for Korea and 1998 Seoul Audience Award for Best Play). Rynd was then asked to design a special children’s theatre and in 2002 became Artistic Director, LATT Children’s Theatre. Arguably the first of its kind in the world LATT employs artists and technicians from around the world to produce English language performances, workshops and multimedia resources.
In 2007 Roger was made an Honorary Citizen of Seoul for his services to Performing Arts and International collaborations. In 2009 he was the first foreign director of the Hi Seoul Festival.
Roger Rynd passed away from a massive heart attack after the opening night of his latest production in Seoul. He leaves behind his partner and collaborator Catherine Pease and a unique and important body of work. Roger’s singular experience of life – his religious heritage, the myths and legends of the Pacific islands’ people, his exposure to hardship and danger – breathes through his works. Like a journey in a creaking ship they take the audience through the fog to imaginary island worlds and the experience is alive with discovery, mystery and delight in the wonder of human exploration.
A Tribute & Celebration is being held for Roger at 4.30pm on Sunday July 25, Sydney Opera House, Opera Theatre Northern Foyer.
Click here to RSVP.