Alexander Clements obituary
My father, Alexander Clements, who has died aged 82, was a teacher of acting, voice and speech whose students included Julie Walters, Jenny Eclair, David Threlfall, Amanda Burton and Steve Coogan.
He was instrumental in developing the acting degree at Manchester School of Theatre (part of Manchester Metropolitan University), where he was a senior lecturer for many years.
Born in Leighton, Essex, he was the son of Alexander Clements, a clerk and wartime radar engineer, and Winifred (nee Lusty), a homemaker. After Leighton county grammar school, Alexander studied history, English and French at London University, graduating in 1961. He won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama, where he trained as a teacher of acting, voice and speech.
His first job, in 1965, was at the Royal College of Music in Manchester, as a teacher of acting. There he met Judith Briggs at the university’s Stage Society and they married in 1968.
Alexander started at the Manchester School of Theatre in 1971. He was dedicated to the Stanislavsky method, emphasising characterisation. Over the years, the acting diploma that he taught evolved into a degree. He stayed on as a senior lecturer until his retirement in 2004.
At home the front room was floor to ceiling with books. He took my brother and me to the theatre even when we were tiny, to watch plays by Ibsen and Chekhov.
He took immense pride in watching many of his students go on to achieve great success in their careers.
After retirement, he enjoyed regular trips to the Royal Exchange and Library theatres, Manchester, walking in the Cheshire countryside, travel with Judith – they enjoyed train journeys around Europe – and gardening. He was an avid reader and often had several books on the go, including some in French, and had a penchant for Dickens along with anything related to Shakespeare.
He was a polite and gracious man, a true gentleman.
He is survived by Judith, their children, Ben and me, and a granddaughter, Isabella.