Percival Tucker

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(Percy). (1928-) Theatre booking agent and founder of Computicket. Born in Benoni. In 1935 he saw Gracie Fields perform at the Criterion Cinema, and was hooked on theatre, a feeling reinforced by his attendance of The Pageant of South Africa in the Empire Exhibition Arena in 1936. Started his theatrical career as an amateur working for the East Rand Theatre Club ***** After his retirement he became interested in documenting the history of theatre in South Africa. His 1997 autobiography, Just the Ticket!, is a valuable reminiscence about theatre in South Africa in the second half of the twentieth century. TUCKER, Percival (Percy). Born 1928, Benoni. Started Computicket. Worked with Taubie Kushlick on virtually all her productions from 1940s until her death in 1991. The Guinea Pig, directed by Taubie Kushlick was performed by the East Rand Theatre Club in May 1948 starring Ethel London. Percy Tucker performed as lighting technician, yet an indiscretion saw him demoted for the run of the production. He was eventually put in charge of the box office, thus starting his ticket-selling career. Also worked backstage on Taubie Kushlick’s Love on the Dole in 1946. Graduated with a B. Com. Degree in 1948. Worked backstage on The Eagle Has Two Heads, by Jean Cocteau which was performed in the Library Theatre in 1949. Starring Leon Gluckman and Taubie Kushlic. He acted as assistant stage manager for John van Druten’s comedy The Voice of the Turtle. Leon Gluckman and Margaret Inglis co-directed and co-starred in this 1952 production which toured the East Rand. He acted as assistant stage manager, together with Barney Simon on James Ambrose Brown’s The Governor at Black Rock which was directed by Leon Gluckman for the East Rand Theatre Club in 1953. He filled the post of business manager in Leon Gluckman’s production of Shakespeare’s King Lear at the Wits University Great Hall in 1954. The play was directed by Elizabeth Sneddon, and Gluckman played Lear. Audrey Cobden assisted Gluckman. Leon Gluckman and Audrey Cobden became partners in his ticket selling venture ‘Show Service’. He attended the first meeting of the South African Association of Theatrical Managements for Show Services in 1956, and stayed on the committee until it was dissolved. He now sits on the executive committee of a new organisation – the Theatre Managements of South Africa. David Bloomberg went into partnership with Tucker in the 1960’s, and started presenting tours of international artists and entertainers. They called this venture South African Theatrical Enterprises. Pat Bray joined Show Services as Tucker’s second-in-command in February 1960. Together with David Bloomberg, he brought Murray Banks to South Africa in 1960 where he performed at the City Hall in Johannesburg, Benoni, the Transvaal , Rhodesia and the Cape Province. He sub-let office space to Sylvia Rich, who ran a C.O.D. ticket delivery service, in 1967. He was a trustee of the Phoenix Players circa 1974. TUCKER, Percy,Started in 1954 with Show Service which was a centralized booking office for theatres and cinemas. Situated in Jhb. Later Computicket.


Tucker, 1997

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