Remembering Mike Jarvis (1956-2021)
Monday, 20 September 2021
mike-jarvis-2-copyMike Jarvis
UK - The family of Mike Jarvis, lighting designer and projects manager, are sad to report that Mike passed away 9 August at the age of 65.
Mike grew up in south Birmingham in a loving home, with his parents Douglas and Peggy and his brother Paul. Music was very important to Mike, especially when it was live. Growing up in Birmingham meant that he saw bands in small clubs before they went on to become rock legends.
He attended Harborne primary school, followed by Lordswood boys school. His foundation year at Fazely street in Birmingham studying art was a happy one, experimenting with sculpture and design which led him to the Theatre Design course at the City of Birmingham Polytechnic in the mid-1970s.
Joanna was one of his fellow students on the course and they quickly developed a strong friendship. At the end of the three years that friendship developed into the loving relationship that has lasted for 42 years, 35 of them as a married couple.
Mike moved from the polytechnic to a job as an electrician at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He quickly gained a reputation as a cheerful and reliable member of staff and he became responsible for running the lighting for shows in the studio theatre. He loved the intimate atmosphere of the studio and enjoyed the camaraderie of the small company of actors for each show. Sitting at the lighting desk in the box, he was physically close to the performance, something that he appreciated.
Promoted to deputy chief electrician he moved to running shows in the main theatre, sitting in the lighting box at the back of the auditorium night after night, chatting to the other technicians on the headphones and reading his newspaper, as well as running the show.
Mike worked at the Rep for 14 years before accepting a job as hire manager at Midland Theatre Services in Smethwick, in the hope of more regular hours.
Mike’s daughters, Elizabeth and Alice were the centre of his life and he was always proud of their achievements.
When he became a project manager for live events and a freelance lighting designer, he found the work challenging and stimulating and he valued the friendships that it brought to him.
Lockdown was very difficult for Mike, as it was for many others. Over a 24-hour period a year of bookings for work disappeared as if in a puff of smoke. One small comfort is that Joanna and Mike got to spend a great deal more time together over the past year than would have otherwise been the case.
His home was the centre of Mike’s life and he was the still, calm, centre of that home. Mike’s life was celebrated on 2 September at Lodge Hill Crematorium where his family and a large number of industry colleagues and friends paid tribute to “an unflappable, smiling, lovely man.”
Donations are being collected in Mike’s memory, for #WeMakeEvents and Heart Research UK.

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