Aine Lark

In memoriam.
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It is with a heavy and sad heart that I write to inform members, friends, patrons, Facebook friends and Drama and Education people that Aine Lark, our ND Chair, has died. She celebrated her 50th birthday this July. Her illness was short, and her death a shock. I knew she was ill, but was hoping and praying chemo would give her more time. Our thoughts and loving condolences are with her husband Al, her family in Belfast and beyond, whom she adored, and her many friends and colleagues.

All who met her will remember her big smile, bigger heart, limitless energy, unbelievable work ethic, positivity, enthusiasm, and wide-reaching, swift intelligence. Her passion was her work: she had more ideas than an oak tree has acorns, all of the time and she never stopped learning. She believed all our young people should have quality and excellence in their Drama education, from aged three onwards, and was that rare mind that could see the value and importance of all the glinting threads in the rainbow skein of Drama and Theatre Education, from Bolton and Heathcote’s brilliant process and pedagogy, through teaching powerhouse practitioners and diverse theatre companies, and in devising, script work and performance skills. She held onto the values and practices that brought us together and took us forward. Division in our opinionated Drama community frustrated her; she was a sensitive and dedicated community builder. She saw how Drama can transform, enlighten, entertain and empower children and was dismayed by the lack of vision in educational policy around the arts. Not that this ever stopped her: every challenge was relished, every opportunity to champion Drama and Theatre Education taken and every lesson, every performance, every article, every individual contribution celebrated.

Her achievements are many; well qualified and well respected as a professional, an irrepressibly friendly and sociable networker, a vibrant presence on several committees and groups working to promote Drama. For National Drama, she was a tireless campaigner, organiser, promoter, visionary, our leader, our friend, and a true optimist. She talked with equal pride about lessons with Y5s in lockdown on Alice; contributing to the Drama, Theatre and Young People Manifesto at the World Alliance for Arts Education conference in Frankfurt; our upbeat 30th Birthday Party Conference, Celebrating Drama; and the riot of innovation in our latest Drama magazine.

Aine has been described with characteristic insight by Kerry Frampton as an incredibly bright light, and a wonderful, passionate, and brilliant woman, and by actor and writer LM Lewin as a force of nature, so full of love and vitality.

She will be missed. Her legacy lives on, every time one of this warm and crazy Drama, Theatre and Education family has a great idea, keeps Drama on a school curriculum, puts on a show, sees a child change mid-workshop, writes to MPs, donates to a theatre, sits in a meeting, asks a Head what Arts provision is, enables young people to experience live theatre, supports a colleague. The light shines on.

Sláinte, Aine.

4 thoughts on “Aine Lark”

  1. I only ever had one interaction with her which reflects all that has been said above. Although the only thing she knew about me was that I taught Drama , Aine voluntarily gave me time, energy and insight to support my development of ‘drama in lockdown’ materials. This was clearly just a glimpse of the amazing person she was. To those who knew her much better than me, my deepest condolences.

  2. I was one of Aine’s early students, about 20 years ago now. She’s been in my life in some way ever since. She was everything that a teenage me never knew I needed. She built me up, and when I pushed my luck like teenagers do, she tore me down. She wasn’t just a teacher, she was a facilitator. She made me stand on my own two feet, made me responsible for my own journey, forced me to think for myself and take control of my own learning. Something that 20 years later I continue to fight for in education even in the youngest of primary children. She was a force, a credit to woman kind, she took me to the edge and gave me all the tools I needed to create the wings I needed to make that leap off the edge. And one way or the other she ensured you made those wings. Aine, you were special, so very very special. I for one took time for granted, I thought there was so much more of it. You have been one of the most influential people in my life. If I can push even half of the passion and creativity into my own teaching as you did into yours, I will be proud. I will miss you Aine. ‘Til we meet again.

  3. Had many dealings with Aine several years ago. A lovely, articulate, professional and caring person. I was unaware the Aine was ill and understand that hat her illness was thankfully short. My heart goes out to Aines family and I wish them all my sincerest best wishes. May God be with You and help and guide you through this difficult time.

    Rest in Peace Aine xx

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