Parents, David and Isobelle, his sister Sue and his nieces, Olivia and Rosie and many friends at Adrian Buntings family memorial.
BOAT launches – a personal celebration
It is great to see the inaugural season underway at Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) – the city’s first permanent purpose built home for open air performance.
I have already been lucky enough to have enjoyed both the opening gala performance, and a stirring performance of Twelfth Night on a lovely sunny evening – but my connection to this project started with my work as a celebrant.
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of leading a memorial ceremony for a leading figure in Brighton’s arts scene. Adrian Bunting seemed to know everyone, and everyone in turn knew and loved him. So it seemed appropriate to hold the memorial in the Spiegeltent in the middle of the Brighton Festival. On top of the huge fulfilment of being able to help so many people remember Adrian, this event allowed me to get to know some great people.
Among these were, of course, Adrian’s immediate family. Adrian had always dreamed of establishing a proper home for open-air theatre in Brighton, so he not only gave his life savings to help make it happen, he also gained promises from some of his closest friends that they would bring the project to life after he was gone. Much hard work, almost all of it for free or at cost, followed, and the dream became reality.
Adrian loved to take centre stage, and so the BOAT team invited his family to come to the theatre ahead of its public launch for a private ceremony to dedicate the venue to him, culminating in scattering his ashes on the stage before they were covered in their final surfacing. I was delighted to be asked by the family to once again help with this occasion.
This was not only another very moving occasion, but a reminder to me of how powerfully losing someone can spur us on to do something which we might not otherwise have done. We cannot help it when grief is sometimes so powerful that we just have to live through it; but sometimes, especially as time goes on, we can channel the emotional energy into something positive and powerful – something great.
As Adrian himself put it – ‘life is all about having dreams and following them’.
Adrian left an amazing legacy of a new outdoor theatre here in Brighton called the Brighton Open Air Theatre or B.O.A.T
Find out more here Brighton Open Air Theatre