Elizabeth Susan Loveless
(nee Grice)

Elizabeth Susan Loveless

6th May 1950 to 16th February 2023 

 

Early Life

Liz was born in Scarborough in 1950. She started her interest in youth theatre in the mid 1960s, when she and her friend Christine, both teenagers, organised about sixty younger children in their junior church to perform family shows, such as Snow White and the Wizard of Oz.

The adult supervision varied from minimal to non-existent, and the kids were mostly left to get on with it. This may seem strange to modern views on the need to regulate children's activities, but in the easygoing sixties, youngsters were given far more freedom and independence than nowadays, though they were also expected to take on responsibilities at an earlier age.


Elizabeth Grice, Teenager

Teenage Liz


In the late sixties, Liz went to Lancaster University to study English and History, then qualified as a teacher at St Martin's College.



Liz in London


 By the Lancaster canal near Bailrigg
Student Days


Motherhood

After finishing college she married, spent a couple of years teaching in Oxfordshire, then moved to Ulverston and had children.

As the children grew, her earlier interest in youth theatre, which had lain dormant during her college years, reawakened.


 

Liz with...

Young Mother

Alex

 

Chris Loveless and mum

and Chris

 


Some of her first productions in Ulverston involved her sons, Alex and Chris, plus a number of cardboard puppets. One such show was a musical version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol with the songs written by Liz, and performed in a puppet theatre on a dining table.



ACT and Furness Youth Theatre

Liz became involved with Neville Street Sunday school and produced her own adaptations of Bible stories including a musical version of The Good Samaritan. This was followed by her musical New Moon, featuring Saul, Samuel, David, Jonathan, Goliath and a paranoid witch.

Her next production was a rework, plus added songs, of the original puppet show A Christmas Carol. It was performed in December 1988 and scaled up from puppet dimensions to fill the Coronation Hall stage, with the cardboard characters being replaced by flesh and blood children.

The show was a great success and the cast asked for a permanent young people's drama group to be set up. This resulted in the creation of ACT - the forerunner to Furness Youth Theatre.  The group's first production was Liz's own musical version of Peter Pan.  The group continued to prosper through the nineties with standard shows including  Annie, Oliver and Fiddler on the Roof, interspersed with productions of the group's own devising.

The most challenging of these original productions was To Death and Glory, a musical set in the years 1913 to 1918 involving militant suffragettes, revolutionaries, medical brutality, a corrupt propagandist press, rampant jingoism and lethal trench warfare. The music was written by Liz's son Alex.

In 2001 the group changed its name to the present one of Furness Youth Theatre, to establish more clearly what it was and give it a more searchable handle on the new-fangled internet. And so it continued for the next 19 years, with rehearsals and performances in Barrow, Dalton, Broughton and Ulverston.

Covid caused a disruption in 2020 - 2021, but despite being identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, Liz got fully vaccinated, opened all the windows in the rehearsal premises and insisted on being there in person to resume meetings as soon as regulations permitted.

Sadly, Liz's medical vulnerabilities eventually caught up with her, and she died suddenly in February 2023. But despite her deteriorating health in her later years, she was actively organising the group's productions until the end. The final show that she produced was Beauty and the Beast. In keeping with the tradition of early responsibility, the choreographer for the show is 14 years old.

Legacy

Following her death, Furness Youth Theatre received many messages of appreciation from former members and their parents, and it became apparent that for some young people the social development and 'pastoral care' aspects of the group were as significant as the dramatic aspects. Here is a selection of comments...



‘Lots of wonderful memories’ – Jenny

‘What a loss to the world, in Liz. There are probably few people whose lives and work bring so much meaning, joy and experience to childhood. And to do so with the genuine care, kindness and commitment she embodied. My life would have been very different without her, and I'm very grateful to have known her’ – Adam

‘She was an amazing woman’ – Harriet

‘The enjoyment that her Furness Youth Theatre activities gave to Harriet and many cohorts of young people in Ulverston and the villages is fondly remembered’ – Harry

‘I have very fond memories, she was such a lovely lady’ – Ann-Marie

‘Lots of fond memories from my ACT days’ – Michelle

‘My whole life working in theatre started at ACT so I owe her a lot’ – Emma

‘She was an amazing woman and always cared so deeply about everyone and I’m so proud and glad to have met her. I loved her! She was so sweet and caring and always had time for me’ – Aurora

‘Liz was an amazing woman. She taught me so much and facilitated life long friendships. She gave me an outlet for many years to be myself on the stage. It helped grow my confidence. Every time I was down I would think back to my Furness Youth Theatre days. She always had a nice thing to say to me every time she saw me and I’ll miss her very much. Rest in peace, Liz. You touched the hearts of many people in your life and you’ll always be remembered for the lovely women you always were. She was amazing and I had the most wonderful time with Furness Youth Theatre. An amazing lady. She will be missed greatly’ – Sammy

‘Liz made a difference to so many, many peoples’ lives with her passion for drama. She is a big loss to our community’ – Zina

‘I have been thinking about Liz a lot over the last week and have told so many people about her. Liz was extraordinary and responsible for all the best and formative bits of my teenage life – I’ll always be grateful for everything she did. That safe, empowering, totally non-judgmental space was uniquely Liz and no one else could have quite created it like that. Liz was an incredible person and a defining influence in so many of our lives. Liz was a legend and made a difference for so many of us’ – Matthew

‘Liz was a truly amazing lady, she took EJ under wing when he was just a shy little 7 year old boy and nurtured his love for drama and contributed to the person he is today. I could never thank her enough for that. I will really miss seeing her… a wonderful soul’ – Charlotte

We would also like to say how wonderful Furness Youth drama group was to so many people. It helped people in so many ways. Not only in the very valuable stagecraft. But friends outside school, confidence, a very valuable sense of belonging; the readiness to include parents made it valuable for them too. These gifts and skills will be carried with them through life. Only last week I watched as Beth gave a talk in front of a large group. A shy child, she did it with confidence, style and pleasure. I thought of Liz then, you all really, and send my thanks, gratitude to you’ – Colleen

‘I know there are many young people who have been blessed with Liz’s shows both being involved in them directly or watching from afar. She was a force of nature and a formidable woman. I am so lucky that Aurora was taken in by you all at FYT’ – Chrissy

‘I owe so much to her and can never repay that’ – Helen

‘Liz was an inspiring woman, always greeting everyone with her lovely smile. I’ll always be thankful for her kindness, care and life lessons she gave me and the FYT family. She indeed carried the biggest heart and impacted many people positively’ – Grace

‘Liz had such a huge impact on my life and she will be sorely missed by everyone that knew her. She was bold, bright and a force to be reckoned with (when she wanted to be)’ – Matthew

‘She was one hell of a woman and a lot of kids (now adults) owe her so much thanks and gratitude for helping to shape us into confident and capable beings. She was an amazing woman and gave us kids so much of her life. She will be missed’ – Kelly

‘What she and all of you have done for music and drama in Furness is absolutely wonderful. A very special lady’ – Camille

‘She was wonderful, and such a major influence on me growing up’ – Charlotte

‘Liz was such a huge part of many of our lives growing up, I will never forget her’ Deryn

‘I just want to recognise and celebrate the impact that Liz had on so many children and young people across the Furness area across so many years. She taught, encouraged and supported us all in expanding our horizons in drama, music, writing, dance, choreography and stagecraft. More than that, I’d like to thank her for the impact she had on me personally, as someone I came to think of as a second mum. Throughout my teen years, she was a constant advisor, supporter and confidante – always there and always happy to listen. Rest in peace, Liz. Liz was an ‘extra mum’ to so many of us growing up, and such an influence on so many of us. She left a huge legacy that will be around for many, many years’ – Charlotte

‘I have so many great memories of Liz while I was growing up’ – Claudia

‘Liz instilled a passion for theatre into many, as did you all, during the Youth Theatre days. We remember those days with very fond memories and you may or may not know that Claudia is now lecturing in Theatre and Drama. She also looks back on what she learnt, which she has put to good use, in pursuit of her passion. The work of Furness Youth Theatre lives on in those that followed their dream and their passion. Liz, a grand lady’ – Yvonne, David, and Claudia

‘Liz is such a beautiful soul, made a huge impact on my and so many others lives’ – Donna

‘Liz really was a superstar and made such a difference in my childhood’ – Emma

‘I’m going to miss her a lot, she’s been a massive part of my life’ – Emily

‘She will be missed by so many. There are undoubtedly many people all around the world who had the privilege of meeting Liz, and who are putting into practice all the valuable lessons she taught them through her years of drama teaching. She will be missed by so many’ – Phil

‘I feel Liz gave such a lot of herself, for as long as she possibly could’ – Val

‘We had many good times and memories. Liz will leave a huge hole in a lot of people's lives’ – Elaine

‘Liz did so much for so many young people’ – Alex

‘She was much loved by so many people because she gave so much of herself, and unflinchingly, to the children at Ulverston and the surrounding area. Alex and Jonathan remember their ACT years with huge affection’ – Barry, Liz, Alex, and Jonathan

‘Liz helped me through my teens so much, ACT was everything to me. Liz was a special lady’ – Kim

‘Liz was an inspiration to a lot of young people, including me. Her memory will forever live on’ – Jade

‘Have many fond memories of Liz’ – Luke

‘She will forever be in our hearts – Ava

‘Liz was nothing but the loveliest and most caring of women. She had a positively big impact on many lives as she too carried the biggest heart. She nurtured, taught and brought up many within the community of FYT which she always handled with an inspiring amount of care - I’m sure the memories and lessons I learned from her will stay with and close to me forever’ – Edina

‘She was such an amazing person and holds such a special place in many people's hearts. She inspired so many and I’m sure will continue to inspire many’ – Natalie

‘She was a special lady and I have so many happy memories of her’ – Stephanie

‘The always lovely Liz - lots of happy memories’ – Paul

‘Liz and FYT had such an impact on me when I was little, and I credit her with so much. She was trusting and kind, instilled so much confidence in us, and it was always, always fun’ – Eloise

‘liz gave so many of us a huge amount of opportunities and helped us see the world is bigger than the Furness peninsula. She has a hell of a legacy, not just for those of us who went into the arts but for all of us who grew personally thanks to her’ – Ste

‘She will be greatly missed. Always had a lovely chat when in the Forum and enjoyed every show there and at Pennington’ – Denise

‘Her commitment to youth theatre was inspirational and had a huge impact on many many young people over the years. She will be fondly remembered by the family’ – James

‘She was such a lovely lady’ – Emma


‘She achieved so much for so many young people in this area’ – Helen

‘Fond memories of… all she did getting youth drama ‘off the ground’’ – John and Susan

‘Guy and Megan had so much fun and grew in self-confidence. Thank you, Liz, for providing them with the chance to do so’ – Gita Guy, and Megan

‘We want to say thank you to Liz for the amazing opportunities and inspiration she have our daughters and all the children. We will never forget!’ – Heather, Shane, Alisha, and Jade


‘Liz was a lovely lady and will be sadly missed. Emma and Matthew used to love going to ACT when they were small’ – Paul, Melanie, Emma, and Matthew

‘She was courageous in the face of multiple medical problems and I will always remember her’ – Ewen


 

 Liz's family and friends would like to express their thanks to all the National Health Service staff who preserved Liz’s health and well-being in the face of complex interacting medical conditions

and in particular

to the Home Dialysis Support Team, whose care and professionalism gave Liz extra years of life - extra years which were quality time - enabling her to continue with her interests, especially youth theatre,  with which she was active to the end.



A CELEBRATION OF HER LIFE

 

 

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