Joyce Campion – 1923-2014

Joyce Elaine Campion was born in Ireland in 1923 into a loving family.  Her father was a clergyman who fell in love with her mother when he heard her sing beautifully.  Joyce was born on her mother’s birthday and was soon joined by her brother and best friend, Brian (later, also a clergyman), with whom she got up to countless escapades, often fondly recounted.

She attended Alexandra College where, accordingly to her diary at age 11, she adored riding (Prince and Quicksilver were her favourite horses), played hockey, appeared in The Pied Piper and was frequently disciplined for talking too much.

Joyce fell in love with the theatre and it fell in love with her.  She began her professional life in Ireland and England but spent most of it in Canada and occasionally the U.S.  No ill, no misfortune could overwhelm if ‘Doctor Theatre’ was present in her life.  Indeed, after suffering a devastating fall during a rehearsal for a play I was directing in 1995, Joyce’s determination to return to her beloved profession not only resulted in her rejoining the production later in the season but led to many more years of delightful performances.  As her director and close friend, I was deeply distressed by her injury and remain eternally grateful for her recovery.  We were all thrilled to see her subsequent triumphs – amoung them her literally scent-stealing maid Saunders in Fallen Angels and her miraculously appropriate final role, Anfisa, in Three Sisters.

Joyce never retired, regarding herself as an actor to the end.  Though her last years were very difficult, she always found comfort in talking about the theatre, reciting her beloved Yeates and amusing her friends with the comic poem ‘If I Were a Lady’.  And there were many friends – deservedly so.  All of us miss her and will livingly remember her great generosity, her fierce loyalty, her irreverent wit and her joy in being a working actor.

by Marti Maraden