Popular and dynamic theatremaker, performer, musician and entrepreneur who established the Bruvvers Theatre Company in 1969 and founded a multi-purpose creative arts centre in Newcastle in 1982
Though born and raised in the East End of London, Mike Mould spent nearly all his adult life in Tyneside, where he gained a reputation as a popular and dynamic theatremaker, performer, musician and entrepreneur.
After attending East 15 Acting School, having been inspired by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop in Stratford East in the late 1960s, Mould established the Bruvvers Theatre Company in 1969 with his younger brother, the actor and director Roy Marsden, with a view to taking accessible theatre to disadvantaged areas.
When Mould moved to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1973 to work as an actor with the University Theatre Company, based at what is now Northern Stage, he took Bruvvers with him, fully intending to establish his own Fun Palace, as originally conceived by Littlewood.
As it turned out, Mould’s band of Bruvvers took rough-edged, issue-based, music-filled shows into schools, colleges and community centres, with titles such as Serfdom Right and Robina Hood, a gender-swapped pantomime.
In 1982 he and his brother Roy bought the huge, derelict Cluny Warehouse in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle and converted it into a multi-purpose creative arts centre with the help of musicians, artisans and others, not to mention Newcastle City Council, which gave him £100,000 to carry out structural works. What became 36 Lime Street – and subsequently The Cluny – won a Royal Institute of British Architect award for community architecture in 1986.
Perennial funding problems did not prevent Mould from sustaining Bruvvers for nearly 40 years. Many actors, performers and writers began their careers with the company.
Mould was in his seventies when Bruvvers finally folded owing to lack of funding, but he continued to write and he bought a new building with a view to creating a theatre-in-the-round. Sadly, illness interrupted the completion of this new space. His friend and colleague, the writer Steve Chambers, said Mould’s legacy to Newcastle and to everyone who knew and worked with him was “incalculable.”
Michael Mould was born on June 29, 1939, and died on April 9, aged 80.