Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

The First Tributes

In Memory

Keith Morris , The Culture of Wales , October-07-19
In Memory by Keith Morris It is a rare person who gets to leave a legacy in two separate fields. But that is the accomplishment, and the legacy, of Keith Morris. A town is a living, dynamic entity, but its passage through time is caught in word and image. Aberystwyth is possessed of a rich photo gallery. The photographs that record its Edwardian heyday are arresting. Keith's record goes beyond the big, and the obvious, delving into the detail. To see the flight of the starlings, however regular, is always startling. The definitive image of their evening destination, the pier, belongs to Keith.

And there is this site. It is imperfect, incomplete, occasionally ungrammatical. But in a media landscape that is lopsided, fragmented, broadly uncritical of itself it is sign of a culture in some kind of aspiration to look at itself.

It came into being without public subsidy, was and remains wholly grant-less. Year on year Keith averaged ten to twelve hours a week on its postings, updatings and maintenance.

I asked him once about the source codes and their ownership. He looked puzzled. I elaborated, asked him whom he had found to do his coding. It dates after all a long way back, to an era pre-Dreamweaver. “Ah”, he said, getting the question,“I did it myself.”

It is a rare person too for whom tributes come from figures across the arts and politics. Elin Jones and Geinor Styles wrote tributes on their own social media, that are complementary. Elin Jones looked to the civic presence and the recorder of Aberystwyth.

Elin Jones in edit:

“Aberystwyth has lost one of its favourites sons. The omnipresent Keith Morris.
I cannot begin to imagine an Aberystwyth without Keith Morris in it. Snapping our daily lives, telling our story to the world through his images. Our starlings and our storms. Our protests and performances. His cheeky smile made us smile. We’ll smile again, but not just now.

“All the present Keith Morris. On the prom, in the town, in all the protest that are in the city. Reflecting the colourful diversity of Aberystwyth in their photos, and announcing them to the world. Thinking of Aberystwyth without Keith and his camera is painful in difficult. He was the beloved son of the city.”

Geinor Styles wrote equally from the heart and had something significant to say:

“In the early 90's the theatre in Wales had a website, hosted by Keith. This was the beginning, in my opinion, of us challenging ourselves, reviewing our work and was the beginning of that critical voice, which has ultimately helped in garnering confidence in ourselves and in our work. Keith did this not out of profit or ego.

“He did it, I think, because he believed in the work growing beyond our borders. As a director starting out I hated it. I hated the fact that the critic had a platform, I'm still reticent on why one person's view dictates whether your show is a success or not. Those who know me know how much I hate it.

“One time I remember asking Keith to take a bad review down off the website that I had had for a show. He laughed saying "Yeah it is a bit of a stinker of a review!", and added "When you put yourself out there you are saying - I am brave. Be brave, Geinor fach" The review stayed.
Keith wanted us to be brave, to believe in ourselves.

Diolch Keith - Cysga'n dawel. X”

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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