Benjamin Forrest

BEN (BJ) FORREST (September 1991 – September 2021)

We are devastated to hear of the death of our dear friend and MLT Committee member, Ben (BJ) Forrest.

BJ first became involved in theatre in 2013 when he was dragged in at the last minute to do sound for Porirua Little Theatre’s production of “Calendar Girls.’ The poor guy was faced with a stage full of women ‘of a certain age’ totally naked; His eyes never left his script! The cast included Sue Mortimer and Paulette McIndoe from Mana Little Theatre and they persuaded him to join MLT. He arrived with his mother, Fran Forrest and joined MLT that year. BJ took one look at our sound equipment and visibly paled – it didn’t take him long to drag us into the 21st century and we are indebted to his foresight and skill.

Most of our patrons probably never saw BJ but they will certainly have heard the results of his efforts. He was totally reliable (except for that one time when he fell asleep and forgot the gunshot right at the end of Murdered to Death on the night the adjudicator was there! We didn’t let him forget that and had a few laughs about it) Very little fazed him, except when we told him we had to have continuous surround sound from the minute the audience took their seat for ‘Once On Chunuk Bair’ That was the other occasion he went pale. In his usual methodical fashion, he worked it all out and together with lighting, won the award for effects. When our lighting guru left the area, BJ took it upon himself to learn how to set lights and recently was in the process of upgrading our whole system to LED.

In recent years we managed to persuade BJ to tread the boards. He first appeared on stage in a non-speaking role as the wolf in ‘Red Riding Hood’ – he was supposed to be the baddy but the audience fell in love with him – he stole every scene! Last year he appeared in his first speaking role in ‘Blackadder the Third’ as a French fop. This year he was due to appear in ‘Mabel.’

BJ was our friend, son, brother – quite simply, he was family. Jobs can be replaced but we can’t replace him and there will always be a BJ shaped gap in the lives of those who knew and loved him. Our hearts go out to his mum Fran, and sister Domonique and all the rest of his family and friends.

Rest In peace dear friend.