Sadly, our much loved David Tredinnick has died. Given the remarkable contribution he has made to the Newlyn Archive, there is very little about him in the archive. There are a few photos of him in the Archive like the one of him as a boy in Florence Place with his dog. Unfortunately we do not have a more recent one of him walking his dog on Newlyn Green.
He was not a man to push himself forward, rather he used his amazing wit and good nature to make others feel good. As a Friend of the Archive, he acted as Chairman of the Committee for many years and on leaving that post he became our first President. In both jobs he did much to make the Archive the success that it is.
Perhaps we will remember David most as an actor. In conversation, David did not just share his views, he acted them out. He was like a ray of sunshine on a dark day. He did not take up acting as a professional career although when he was young he was given the opportunity to join one of the best acting schools. At the time he had been accepted as an apprentice electrician – not an honour to be lightly cast aside- and his dad told him he had to finish his apprenticeship before becoming an actor. And so life went on. He married, got a job, had a family – but acting was always in his blood.
He was the founding father of the St Peters Players, an amateur dramatic group based in Newlyn that was famous throughout Cornwall. The group performed for 60 years and David was a star actor appearing in 92 of the 121 plays that were done. On taking the job of Producer in 1972, he said ‘I believe in letting each member of the cast develop the part in his or her own way, but the temptation to get up there and show them how I would do it is very hard to resist.’
Diane Tredinnick’s book about the Players published by the Archive is really a history of David and contains many amusing anecdotes about him. For example, on the first night of their first play ‘Haul for the Shore’ (September 1962), David spotted a tray with small glasses of whisky backstage. It had been provided ‘in case anyone felt a bit nervous’. When David stole a swig before the curtain opened, someone said, ‘Hello David, I thought you were a Methodist?’. ‘Yes’ replied David ‘but an enlightened one!’
There are many reviews of the plays in which David performed. In ‘Out of Order’ David demonstrated his ‘gloriously successful non-verbal stage presence, in which his gift for timing and his richly expressive ability were given full flow’. In ‘Gaslight’ David was ‘the bullying and scheming Victorian autocrat… but ended up being carted off to face the rope. His body language, tone of voice and mannerisms (including blood pressure) reflected these changes beautifully.’
When interviewed about a part he had played he usually managed a joke.
‘I always wanted to have a go at something with more weight than the comic roles I was playing’, he told Frank Rhurmund, ‘but when I plucked up the courage to ask the Director why I was never considered for such parts, he said, David, my son, forget it, with a face like yours you can only play comedy!’
The final production was ‘Curtain up on Murder’ in November 2016.