It's one year to the day since a dear friend passed away. Without warning he was gone and many of us in Korea, New Zealand and Australia were left bereft. Roger Rynd was an extraordinary human being. Most of you who might chance upon this blog will never have heard of him, but if you happened to be at the Hi Seoul Summer Festival 2008 then you would have experienced his handiwork.
Roger was Artistic Director of Latt Children's Theatre and one of my greatest mentors and friends, without him the world around us seems incomplete. One year on he is still missed by so many.
An extract from his obituary last year:
Roger was born in Singapore and had spent most of his life in Asia and Oceania. He had an ongoing interest in the relationship of contemporary performance and technology to the traditional stories, music and mythology of the region. For the last 14 years he pursued a particular passion for creative work with artists from Korea and Australia; forging the aesthetic perspectives of these two unique cultures into a critically acclaimed performance medium.
From 1985 to 2002 Roger was artistic director and writer in residence for Australia’s internationally acclaimed REM Theatre, creating dynamic multi art form, cross cultural theatre. In 2002 he became Artistic Director of the LATT Children’s Theatre in Seoul, Korea - arguably the first theatre of its kind in the world. Artists and technicians from Korea, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Poland and the U.K combine to produce English language performances, workshops and multi media resources.
Roger had been busy preparing Latt Children's Theatre's latest production, "The Little Dragon" and after celebrating the successful opening of the performance he passed away in his sleep in the early hours of the 14th of June.
Roger's work took him to many different festivals and venues as a writer, director, designer and performer. From The Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. to The South Bank Concert Hall in London to The Australia Abroad Festival in Singapore, his shows have been seen all over the world.
Roger conceived and directed the epic ICON performance for the Sydney Opera House 20th Birthday Celebration and was Writer and Artistic Director of the Opening Ceremony of the “most successful ever” Paralympic Games in Sydney 2000. This spectacular event had a live audience of 110,000 and was viewed by over 2 billion people worldwide.
For the Sydney Olympics Festival he worked with artists from Korea and Australia to create the public art performance “The Maintenance Team’. He was also artist in residence for the Seoul Arts Centre, Korea and created the Opening Ceremony of the Australian Festival in Seoul.
From 1997 he started working in Korea with Sadari Theatre Company, creating several beautiful performances with them over the years. He was also invited to direct the 10th Anniversary ceremony for the Seoul Arts Centre and in 2008 he was made Artistic Director of the Hi Seoul Summer Festival.
Roger Rynd was made an Honorary Citizen of Seoul in 2007 and will be greatly missed by all those who worked and played with him.
Roger and the cast, crew and staff of Latt Children's Theatre in 2008.