As the news of Alan's death spread
on the weekend after Christmas 2003, there was a wave of shock
and sorrow from friends, colleagues and fans worldwide. Many
found themselves surprised at the depth of feeling they experienced,
even if they only knew Alan through his work. One person (an
attorney and teacher of constitutional law) wrote, speaking for
"The truth - however impossible it seems to my
rational self - is that I am in mourning for Alan Bates.
What I found so very life-affirming nonetheless in the pages
of the Bates Archive, is that there are so many intelligent people
who share my sense of loss, and that we were not mistaken in
our admiration. Alan Bates appears to have been a very fine human
being. Perhaps his gifts were as great as they were because
as he grew older, his natural intuition was accompanied by an emotional
deepening, so that as his audience grew older and wiser, his
art reflected us, and we thought him one of our own, however
disparate his and our origins."
Some who wrote to the Bates Archive said that it was helpful
to read the tributes collected, and added a few words, or sent
messages of condolence to Alan's family. These memorial tributes
have become a permanent section of the Bates Archive: here is
a guide to those pages.
The Bates Archive Tribute:
"... Alan wrote wonderful, insightful memorial tributes,
filled with telling details and good stories. It is a daunting
act to follow, but I want to share with you some of my Bates
memories ..." A few words from Alan's friend and web manager,
Messages sent to the
Bates Archive: A sampling of the Bates Archive mail in
the first week of 2004. Writers remember encounters with Alan
... a novelist confesses that most of her important male characters
contain a bit of Alan ... an audience member tells about Patrick
Stewart's emotional announcement at the end of a "Caretaker"
performance in New York.
Messages sent to the
BBC: Worldwide tributes. Lest you get the impression
that Alan was a saint, there's a wonderful note about an RSC
"Taming of the Shrew" performance at Stratford in 1973,
where Alan dealt with a heckler in the audience, earning an instant
standing ovation by not mincing words. Shakespeare would have
Obituaries and Tributes
from the World Press: A handful of special tributes;
Ken Russell's tribute is heartfelt and personal ... another writer
made this interesting statement: "Directors who worked
with Bates noted that he had an almost childlike absence of ego.
It was as though he kept a space in himself vacant into which
his current character could be poured."
A Selection of Poetry
chosen by Alan for family memorial services. You can read some,
and listen to others.
of Alan's life, attended by colleagues and family, held on Sunday,
26 September 2004 at the Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square,
London. Details and the programme are here.
In answer to many queries, Alan's funeral was held at the
Parish Church of All Saints, Bradbourne, Derbyshire, on Saturday,
3 January 2004.
Message from the Bates Family
Alan's nephew Karl Bates wrote from Australia:
"... I'd like to thank you for all the work that you
have put into the website and in particular reading the kind
messages from all over the world has been wonderful. It really
is amazing to realise the impact that he had on the world. ...
I've been in touch with Dad [Alan's brother Martin] and
everyone is so moved by the thoughts and condolences that have
come through. Please convey our gratitude and express how comforting
for the family it has been to read all the wonderful tributes."
Many of you have asked about gestures of sympathy to Alan's
family. No project was closer to Alan's heart than the Tristan
Bates Theatre at the Actors Centre, Covent Garden. If you are
in Europe and would like to make a contribution, you'll find
information about the Centre and its work here; if you are in the US, look here.
Contact the Bates
Archive directly from anywhere to learn how easy it is to
make a small contribution.
Photo by Andy Gotts