Richard (Dick) Condon, (1937 - 1991) Richard Street, Castlebar
The death took place in October of Mr. Richard (Dick) Condon, Richard Street, Castlebar, one of the best known figures in the Irish and British theatrical world.
For a number of years he was manager of the Olympia Theatre in Dublin and later became manager of the internationally famed Theatre Royal in Norwich, England, which he developed into one of the leading theatrical centres in England. When he moved to Norwich the Theatre Royal was an ailing concern and in the space of few years Richard Condon had transformed it into a highly profitable company, thereby gaining an international reputation for his management skills. He was also involved with the D’Oyly Carte Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company and was responsible for the revival of their operas in London and other parts of England.
Aged 54 years, he also formed his own theatre company with his brother, Anton, and presented a number of shows in Castlebar Town Hall in the 1970’s, including “Boeing Boeing” and “Barefoot in the Park”, for which they employed a professional cast. Also in the 1970’s he had plans drawn up for the siting of a theatre in Castlebar but these did not to ahead because of his career move to Norwich.
Mr. Condon, who was born in Belfast, had been ill for a number of months. His professional career began as an actor when he joined the Bohemian Players for a summer season in Ireland. He then took up a position as assistant administrator of the Dublin Theatre Festival and later its administrator. He was in the first play to be written specially for Irish television. He had also done radio and until his Norwich appointment, he had a regular ‘Theatre Topics’ programme in Dublin.
In the mid 1980’s Richard returned briefly to Ireland where he masterminded the refurbishment of the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin and planned for its booking programme for its first six months following its reopening.
In 1987, Richard was conferred with an Honorary Master of Arts degree at the University of East Anglia, in recognition of his outstanding work with the Theatre Royal in Norwich. On that occasion Professor Keith Clayton of the School of Environmental Sciences read the public citation which stated that Richard Condon “brought the style of the travelling circus to Norwich and showed its relevance to filling a theatre, to making it not only profitable … but something of which everyone was proud”. His mother, Katie, who was then aged 89 years, travelled to Norwich for the conferring - his nephew, Richard Geraghty, was also present. Richard said, at the time, the degree was a great honour and he felt humbled to receive it as it was totally unexpected.
Richard was son of the late Dick and Kate Condon, his mother, aged 93 years, having died a year ago. He is survived by his brother, Anton and sister, Mrs. Ann Geraghty, Richard Street.
Taken from the Castlebar Parish Magazine 1991