Tributes to Gareth Knapman.

Gareth Knapman, 1981-2016

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An English Folk-Hero in Leipzig:

Gareth James Knapman, born 4th March, 1981, Sandwell Hospital, West Midlands England. Lived at Charlemount Farm, West Bromwich and then Chalcot Grove, Handsworth Wood, Birmingham.

Attended Grestone Junior and Infants, Primary School, and Dartmouth High, Great Barr, Birmingham (Secondary) until the age of 16. Then attended Cadbury College, to complete A level until the age of 18, studying Drama, Psychology and Music. He played Double Bass and was part of the Birmingham Youth Jazz Orchestra for a sort time. He learned and played Guitar, starting at the age of six and developed his competence on guitar with private lessons and self-development. He reached grade 8 on Piano with separate peripatetic teaching at Dartmouth School by his Music Teacher,

Gareth was a member of the Youth theatre, Stage Two at the MAC, in Edgbaston Birmingham, from the age of 12, progressing through LAMDA examinations to the highest standard in the qualification, which was, Acting Diploma with Honours.

His personal ambition as a Drama Teacher and Director was achieved through the formation of, Ubiquity Theatre, and was its founder with theatre producer, Ruth Harrell, as a company in Birmingham. Gareth jobbed as an actor; director and workshop leader mainly in the West Midlands of Great Britain. Companies he worked for include Gazebo Theatre; Bigfoot Theatre; Loud-Mouth Theatre; Purple Monster; EIL and Geese Theatre Company. He taught drama in schools as a supply teacher before moving to Leipzig. He gained experience in Information Technology, which could have been an alternate career path.

Gareth had developed strong links with Leipzig through a series of exchange visits organised with Stage 2, first as a student and then later as a leader. In 2005 he moved, with Ubiquity, to Leipzig and this is where he made his permanent home.

Ubiquity Theatre has since become an important and innovative producer of performances and workshop programmes with an aim of, ‘enabling our audience to question and re-evaluate the social problems they encounter in their everyday lives’ (Ubiquity website). Gareth and his work became established providers of socially proactive theatre in both English and German.

Ubiquity’s first venue-based performance was a stage-adaption of the 1985 Brat Pack film The Breakfast Club in Birmingham’s Patrick Centre in the Birmingham Hippodrome. Subsequent performance projects have included re-workings of classic texts such as William Shakespeare’s The Tempest; The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter along with devised productions including Nomad No More in Leipzig, Germany and Heads Above Feet for Wolverhampton City Council. Gareth had over 25 theatre credits at amateur and professional level, including Under Milk Wood, Cabaret, Much Ado About Nothing, Dr Faustus, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, In the Bleak Midwinter, Grimm Tales, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Romeo & Juliet, Little Shop of Horrors and more.

Among recent performances by Ubiquity were;

October 2015 | The Birds (Die Vögel) by Aristophanes. May 2014 Die Physiker (Ubi Performance Gruppe). is a satiric drama written in 1961 by Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Informed by the Second World War and the many recent advances in science and nuclear technology,

In September 2014, Gareth Directed the excellent performance of Journey’s End, an anti-war performance by Ubiquity Theatre Company (Leipzig)’s performance group on the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of the first world war and the cast was mainly women. (1914 – 2014). Performed at the Neues Schauspiel, Leipzig.

In July 2014, Ubiquity did the clown play, Skungpoomery, by Ken Campbell.

Internationally, Gareth and Ubiquity worked from 2002-3 in Vermont (USA) to direct and produce new pieces of theatre with groups of international actors (with funding from the Experiment In International Living). Gareth took sole control of Ubiquity in August 2004 and took it to Birmingham’s partner-city of Leipzig (Germany) in early 2005, now permanently based.

Gareth also had a strong musical gift, it was a big part of his life, playing the guitar, piano and other instruments to a high level as well as owning a strong singing voice. He has taken the role of musical director in various theatre productions, such as musically directing the show “Godspell” at just 19 years of age, in the UK [October 2001]. He performed in bands such as Morpheus Blue (England) and The Flow (Germany).

Gareth Knapman played in 2007’s ‘Classic Open’ festival in Leipzig and featured songs like “Little Rose.In 2008, Mr Bojangles and Sinatra’s, “Fly me to the Moon”. Gareth Knapman and Micha Kreft often dueted, bei der Rock-Piano-Nacht …Rock piano night, at the regular Flower Power Nightclub venue in Leipzig,where they were resident musicians for many years.

Gareth performed on LF’s “Leipzig Star” for the 2nd time. He sang the Frank Sinatra classic, “My Way” and he put himself on the road to victory by doing that. He won the first competition with, “Mustang Sally”. Leipzig News showed Gareth performing “Three Parts Of An Hour”, written by himself, on the Drehscheibe show in early 2006.

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If All the World’s a Stage.

If all the world’s a stage and if Gareth one of its Directors, we must all merely be actors. Then as he has now made his exit, who will now make their entrance?

Gareth was a great believer in people being in control of their lives, the potential of human beings, everyone can be decision-makers, directors, each can take centre stage, the disenfranchised the poorest, a child, a minority, regardless of Gender, should have their say. It wasn’t just a question of helping, it was liberating too.

08/05/2016.

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The Gareth Project:

Gareth, beautiful son, brother and dear friend, you are our light and you shine so brightly. You are with us in our social consciousness at all times. Your project is becoming evermore revealed to us all. May it continue so that you will become even more part of our collective will and your human factor enhances ours.

Everyday it is evident that you touched so many and affected the lives of people spread across the planet. The messages that continue to arrive from all over the world reflect the positive meaning you have given to people.

Leipzig, which you loved, adopted you as you adopted it.

This historic place of enlightenment that carries so much from the Northern European and German Renaissance, its culture, right up to the early 20th Century and today in the aftermath where history left off and was suspended but now resumes. Leipzig, Germany, will once again rise to the times and the “Working Class Heroes” of all nationalities will come together. You and your many friends know that it is here where you belong. You live amongst the people of Lindenauer Markt, you, like your numerous friends and acquaintances, have grappled with life there and learned about the current human progression in the German consciousness.

Your project has involved your music, your drama and your teaching. We are all still learning what it means. As people are paying tribute to you they will continue, as you have done, to contribute in this pro-social and pro-people direction, understanding evermore the unfolding mission to realise the broad democratic and progressive goals inclusive of the rights of all that you were intent upon. These may be lofty aims but as time went on the things you always considered on a personal level have become more striking in recent times with your developing political participation in the current situation. We appreciate the necessity of people controlling their own lives, which you always advocated, so that they should have the cherished freedom to decide their destiny and be decision-makers, things that you insisted that everyone had a right to do. We are only beginning to grasp this now.

Everyday, as your thoughts and ideas, your experiences, become integrated with our own, we find out about some of the people you have inspired and helped. The many refugees you have affinity with. People who have great difficulties, dispossessed or feel disenfranchised or of the streets, people who are now successful in what they do, who you have influenced, we promise to overcome our sense of disorientation and become stronger to live life to the full and develop our purpose and our humanity.

Our pride in you is great.

This is the essence of the Gareth Knapman project.

Ken Knapman 01/05/2016.

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Sweet air I will sing with you.

Warm. South wind I will sing with you,
Sou’ Wester from Cornwall,
I sing for you,

Voices from Wales,
We listen…Hark!

Cold, cold wind from the North, we sing to you.

To Germany, to Leipzig, where Gareth is, dear boy, sweet breeze, we sing with you.

(KK) 17/5/2016
Lerryn, Cornwall

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Dear Ken and Alison,

Deepest condolences on the tragic passing of your much loved son, Gareth.

Thinking of you and with you at this sad and difficult time. We will hold in our hearts the memory of a wonderful boy – an inspiration to us all.

My firm support and sympathy.

Chris Coleman

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Val Barnett            5 May 08:18

We are thinking of you, Alison and Claudia . Gareth was a special person . Xxx

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Mike Buckle

5 May at 07:16 · Birmingham ·

Taken from us far too young but you lived with a passion for life and made a difference to the lives of many. A warm, spirited and fiercely creative soul, I shall miss you. Your inspiration and the effect you had on others shall live on. Rest in Peace Gareth Knapman

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Vanessa Herold with Gareth Knapman.

5 May at 00:43 ·

Es ist unheimlich traurig. Du warst ein toller Musiker, talentiert, hast immer gelächelt und warst stets sehr freundlich.

Wir hatten kein tiefgründiges Verhältnis & doch bin ich traurig, denn Heute hat dein Herz aufgehört zu schlagen.

Mögest Du nun an einen besseren Ort gelangen und nie in Vergessenheit geraten.

Ruhe in Frieden, Gareth.

An meinem Grab wein´ nicht um mich,

der hier schläft, das bin nicht ich.

Ich bin der Wind, der Dich umbrist.

Ich bin die See, die Dich umfließt.

Ich bin der warme Sonnensegen.

Ich bin der sanfte Morgenregen, wenn Du erwachst zu früher Stunde.

Ich bin der Vogel in kreisender Runde, auf Schwingen gleitend in würdiger Macht.

Ich bin der Sternenglanz der Nacht.

Drum steh´ nicht weinend hier, denn sieh´:

Ich bin nicht hier, ich sterbe nie.

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Lauren Rogers

5 May at 15:50 ·

Thinking about Gareth and the fun we had working and performing together. Such happy memories. Such a talented man. He’ll be very much missed by so many.

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Simon Smith with Gareth Knapman.

5 May at 14:52 ·

In a childhood back in day of playing football in the streets, using lamp posts and driveways as goal posts. Playing computer games on the Amiga, Commodore and Amstrad. Playing Curbee, Cops and Robbers, Conkers, Stagger 1-2-3. Building Dens and secret hide outs etc etc. Gareth and I did it all for years growing up on Chalcot Grove. Most of all I remember us both sharing a passion for music and we’d play the guitar and piano for hours on end after school, weekends and during holidays. You were always one of kind and I’ll miss you buddy. R.I.P dear friend…

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Mira Sommer‎ to Gareth Knapman

5 May at 20:21 · Leipzig, Germany ·

I am still shocked about the sad news. You were not only a brilliant musician but a wonderful person. Every time spend with you was energetic and fun. Your humble and lovely personality, bright smile, free spirit and incredible talent will not be forgotten. This picture is from a video, made at one of my parties taking place almost 10 years ago – unbelievable to never hear your voice again.

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Hi Ken, we are really very sorry to hear your sad news about Gareth’s passing.
Pete and I are thinking of you and Alison and the rest of your family at this sad time and  we send our love and prayers to you all.  Although we had only met Gareth a couple of times we felt that we really knew him from your conversations over the years.

Love  Chrissie and Pete xx

 

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Dear Ken

I am so very sorry to hear the news. Many, many condolences to you, Alison and Alan on such a terrible and irreplaceable loss.

Keep strong. You have the thoughts and support of the Party with you now and in the years to come.

I am sure we will continue to honour Gareth’s memory.

On behalf of all your comrades

Mike

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Mary James

6 May at 23:05 ·

Such amazing tributes to our talented, clever, beautiful nephew/cousin. We love you, you will be forever in our hearts and always on our minds. RIP Gareth Knapman.

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Sandra Schindler feeling sad with Gareth Knapman and Malgorzata Porzezynska.

5 May at 05:24 ·

  1. Damals, als die Welt noch völlig verrückt, aber trotzdem irgendwie in Ordnung war. Leipzig will be incomplete without you, Gareth Knapman. Warum bist du gegangen? Viel zu früh …

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Andrea James It’s been lovely reading such words about Gareth! He clearly touched many lives. I’m not very good with words but the tributes say just how I feel – he was the kindest, most genuine person! The worlds a sadder place without him! RIP Gareth xxx

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Jen Knapman‎ to Gareth Knapman

Yesterday at 08:20 ·

I can’t believe it… you still had so much left to offer. Thoughts and prayers for your loved ones xx

Pippa Wentzel

6 May at 22:27 ·

It may be Journey’s End, but the memories will live on forever. Thank you Gareth for the unforgettable times. As a theatre director and as a human being, you touched our lives, and it was a privilege to work with you.

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Alex Pugh

5 May at 22:37 ·

RIP Gareth. So glad we had the chance to catch up again last year! You were a wonderful and exceptionally talented man!

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Richard Pargeter

6 May at 22:21 ·

A beautiful song from a beautiful soul. Gareth I’ll miss catching up with you over drinks at the Volunteer, always touched by your warmth and enthusiasm, and inspired by the way you used your talents to help so many people. Sending out love to your family, friends and all the people whose lives you touched x

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Victoria Walton

6 May at 23:38 ·

Feeling blessed With Gareth Knapman- found this on your Facebook page- probably the last time I saw you- so grateful you came to our wedding even without your luggage which got lost somewhere- I never did find out if you got it back. Always humour! Loved your laid back style- sleep well xx

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Jörg Wenzel‎ to Gareth Knapman

Yesterday at 13:06 · Magdeburg, Germany ·

Lieber Gareth, wir haben zusammen Musik gehört, wir haben zusammen gesungen, wir haben zusammen getrunken, du warst der liebenswerteste, sanfteste und kreativste Mensch, den ich kannte. Alle meine Kinder haben dich geliebt, du warst für sie wie der gute Mensch vom andern Stern. Requiescas in pace!

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Simone Kühnl‎ to Gareth Knapman

6 May at 07:30 ·

Gute Reise Gareth

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Merlyn Mary Miller Rice

5 May at 22:33 ·

Remembering Gareth Knapman tonight, He was a big part of my time with Stage 2 as a teenager, so lucky to have got to have hung out with him every Sunday at mac Birmingham.

He was always warm, caring and welcoming.

Possibly the nicest guy I’ve ever met.

I also had the pleasure of doing his makeup for the Stage 2 production of Adrian Mole, back in the nineties – this is one of few photos I have of him from that time.

Such a sad loss.

You were much loved Xxx

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Alexander Amokalex Rudzinski

5 May at 13:32 ·

Fathers Day in Germany!

for some, time to spend the day with the Family and Kids…

for others, just another reason to get shit faced…

For me, just another day of work, missing out on the pride and fun of being a Family man and Parent, and thinking about a Musician Colleague that unfortunately left us much too soon at the age of 35! R.I.P. Gareth Knapman! frown emoticon

…it is days like today that makes one realize even more that everyday can be your last, so make the most of it!!

….and stop your Whining!!

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Sarah Watkins

5 May at 19:08 · Ocker Hill ·

I can’t believe the news I have received of a very old school friend. So young and such a talent. Rest in peace Gareth Knapman forever in our thoughts x x x x x x x

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Mira Sommer feeling sad.

5 May at 20:29 · Leipzig, Germany ·

mourning another great artist who has left our world – sad to have missed spending time with him lately – Gareth Knapman

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Jenny Edlington

5 May at 16:21 ·

A painful reminder of how fragile life is today. I’m thinking of Gareth’s family and friends and hoping they are gaining some strength from the amount of love and respect he so obviously generated from all those lucky enough to have met him, and the stories and photos they are sharing.

In the words he helped his mate’s tone deaf older sister to learn, from the musical in which he absolutely shone, “Remembered forever / As shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom / Chang chang changitty chang sha-bop / That’s the way it should be”

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Rebecca Fisher thinking about old memories with Gareth Knapman.

5 May at 18:12 ·

Just heard the sad news that a good school friend of mine has passed away. You were always so warm hearted and fun to be around, you introduced me and Tamara Harris to Stage 2 at the MAC and hanging out at your house with friends. I don’t know the details but I know you were taken much to soon. The World has lost a talent and one of its truly good souls. R.I.P Gareth Knapman. You won’t be forgotten xx

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Sly McFly I can’t bloody believe it, he was such an awesome dude xxx

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Mike Buckle

5 May at 07:16 · Birmingham ·

Taken from us far too young but you lived with a passion for life and made a difference to the lives of many. A warm, spirited and fiercely creative soul, I shall miss you. Your inspiration and the effect you had on others shall live on. Rest in Peace Gareth Knapman

Janice Pargeter Lovely words Mike so true! I am so sorry you have lost another friend. Love always! Mum x x x

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Louise Pateman I have so many happy childhood memories that include Gareth. So so deeply sad to hear he has left us. Love to all the Knapmans xxx 5 May at 17:15

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Larry O’toole we have no words to say how we feel just a deep sorrow rip Gareth

6 May at 18:53

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San Dy with Gareth Knapman.

5 May at 13:32 ·

Gareth, thank you for the music. And thank you for your kindness, for being so genuinely nice to anyone who ever crossed your path. Rest in peace, my friend. You will be sorely missed by so many.

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Kristin Kluck with Gareth Knapman.

5 May at 09:23 ·

~ ..wenn wir uns, in vorbereitung auf unsere “sprich! – voiceover-workshops”, mit peter und andré in cafés getroffen haben, hast du dich immer darüber beschwert, dass die deutschen keinen richtigen tee machen können.. erinnerst du dich? * ich hoffe sehr, dass du dort, wo du jetzt bist, bestens versorgt bist.. * rest in peace, Gareth.. you will be missed..

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Paul Parker-Duber

5 May at 09:07 · Birmingham ·

Shocked by the terrible news of Gareth Knapman passing away. A really talented chap, so passionate for music and theatre. Will be leaving my hat on all day in memory of him. 35 is no age at all… ‪#‎RIP

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Alice Frost

5 May at 09:02 ·

I’m so sad to here Gareth Knapman has passed away.

Gareth you were one of a kind… A genuinely good hearted and generous person. Keep making music wherever you may be now… I know you will be. My thoughts are with your family x

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Frank Wolter

5 May at 09:47 ·

Ich fass es nicht und habe keine Worte. Mach’s gut, Gareth Knapman. Du warst ein wahrer Gentleman.

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John James Edlington

5 May at 08:14 ·

Life is too short. Gareth Knapman I haven’t seen you for far too long but I’ll never forget our drunken taxi journeys home from snobs or crazy barbecues at your house where we tried to cook pork joints or being in numerous bands with you despite you being one of the most gifted musicians I knew and I couldn’t turn my bass on. I’m glad you spent your life doing something you loved and always stayed true to yourself. You were a beautiful soul. Love to your family and friends.

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Goodbye, Gareth. We had good times together and together we made a dream come true, Rumore di Pace. Pupils from UbiYouth, remember he was very proud of you. A hug to you all and especially to Claudia Ilaria

13/5/2016

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Janice Pargeter‎

to

Medina Community Choir Members

Hello dear choir friends, sorry not to be at rehearsal this week or for the first “run-through” on 13th. I am going to Germany to say a fond farewell and celebrate the life of a young and talented musician, Gareth, who was taken from us far too soon! Gareth,who lived and worked in Germany, is Ken and Alison’s son who are both choir members and very dear friends of mine. Gareth’s life was filled with music and theatre and he pursued it with a passion and purpose that won him the love and respect of many people. So will be thinking of you all as you prepare for the amazing summer concert that is to be and hope that all goes really well on the 13th. Be like Gareth, give it your all – go for it! x x x

Love

Sally Coleman

Sally Coleman Thinking of you all at this sad time. Hope it all goes well. Take care, love and best wishes xxx

Jayne Elizabeth Thomas

Jayne Elizabeth Thomas So sad thinking of you all. Xx

Vicki Brewer

Thinking of you all..lots of love xxx

Ken Knapman   Thank you so much, Jan, thank you all. Xxx

Petra Wilmott Robinson

Petra Wilmott Robinson So sorry to read this. My love and thoughts with you all x·

Kathleen Glynn

Kathleen Glynn Sending all my love ❤ to Ken, Alison and all family and friends x x

Nicola Callaghan

Nicola Callaghan Sending love and thoughts to you all xx

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The scrapbook of messages started at the Universita Klinikum, Hospital Intensive care unit, has now arrived in England. There are so many from all over the world. It will take some time to collate but we will publish when we can.

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Gareth Knapman always supported the work of the Trades Unions and RTUC in particular. With that Trades Unionists give their thanks. Gareth was a true internationalist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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