On Friday 24 November, Sheffield Theatres hosted an evening of music in the Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse to celebrate Lord Bob Kerslake, his love of the arts and his contribution to the city and public life.
Bob Kerslake had a long association with Sheffield having been CEO of Sheffield City Council before becoming Head of the Civil Service. He chaired many national and local boards including Sheffield Theatres, Sheffield Hallam University and the Sheffield Culture Collective, which he led until his death earlier this year.
The concert provided an opportunity for family and friends, colleagues and the people of Sheffield to celebrate Lord Kerslake. Organisers liaised with his family to programme music performances that reflected his musical tastes. The evening was hosted by Robert Hastie, Artistic Director at Sheffield Theatres, and included a performance of Rachmaninov Cello Sonata from two renowned musicians from Music in the Round, Gemma Rosefield and Tim Horton, a number from the award-winning musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge performed by Laura Pitt-Pulford, and the Vimala Rowe Quartet secured by Jez Matthews of The Jazz at the Lescar. A wider selection of Bob’s favourite music was also played at the pre-show drinks, with the playlist compiled by his son, Michael.
Tom Bird, Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres, said:
‘Bob Kerslake’s influence and impact at Sheffield Theatres over the many years he chaired our Board is immeasurable –his endless support of the arts was incredibly valued, as was the way in which he championed Sheffield. He has left such a positive mark and enabled so much creativity to flow through our city. We were delighted to be able to host a special evening to celebrate his legacy and are pleased that the money raised during the evening will continue to support charities he was passionate about. A huge thank you also goes to Surriya Falconer, Bob’s friend and former deputy chair, for organising a wonderful tribute.’
Anne, Eleanor and Michael Kerslake also commented:
‘Friday evening was a wonderful event which Bob would have greatly enjoyed. It was good to meet up with so many friends who had come along to remember him. All of the artists gave fantastic performances. We are very grateful to them and for the dedication and hard work of the staff of Sheffield Theatres, Music in the Round and Sheffield Jazz. All proceeds from the sale of tickets will go to the homeless charities; The Archer Project and St. Mungo’s.’
Jo Towler, Chief Executive of Music in the Round said:
‘Music in the Round was delighted to be able to support the celebration of Bob's life in our Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse home, with Ensemble 360's fantastic performance of one of Bob's favourite composers, Rachmaninov, being rapturously received by his friends, colleagues and family.’
South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard added:
‘Bob Kerslake was a giant of a man. He was passionate about making the world a better place - particularly, our small bit of the world. The concert in his name was a fitting, moving tribute to a man who I am proud to say chose South Yorkshire as his home. He was one of ours and we will miss him deeply. It was a joy to have a moment to reflect on his life, through one his great passions: music and the arts.’
The event was sponsored by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. All ticket sale profits are being donated to the homeless charities; The Archer Project and St Mungo’s as requested by Lord Kerslake’s family.