14th February 1980
WELL-KNOW THEATRICAL MR. VENNER
Following a fall in which he broke his leg Mr. Venner spent quite a time in
hospital and recovered sufficiently to go home and resume his life - he
lived alone in Rochdale. But more recently he became ill again and died
in hospital on Friday. The cremation was to take place at Rochdale on
Wednesday following a service in the Roman Catholic Church there.
Mr. Venner had adopted the Roman Catholic faith late in life. For years
after he and his company made a theatre furore in repertory at the
Alexandra Cinema, Pontefract, when all his players lived and lodged with
local people, Mr. Venner was remembered as the 'complete theatrical' in
Pontefract. The stars of his company and himself locally rivalled the
national film stars in popularity and their names were household words.
He and his company could produce almost anything on demand, from period
plays to Shakespeare, domestic comedy to farce both knockabout and
sophisticated. Their photographs were kept by many of his Pontefract and
Castleford fans and no one had had more than the Misses Hilda and
Muriel Barnes, of Love Lane, Pontefract.
And it was only after a long interval of years when he seemed to have
disappeared from the consciousness of local people and few had any news
of him, that contact was established through the 'Express' and a
cinema history writer of Mr. Mellor of Leeds. The result was Mr. Venner's
first re-visit to Pontefract in many years took place a year last
October. This was at the home of the Misses Barnes, where gathered other
Pontefract 'fans' (all of whom he remembered by name.)
in Focus is researched by Maurice Haigh and reproduced with the kind
permission of the Pontefract and Castleford Express.