Obituary: Diana Zwar

Diana Helen Mary Plunkett, theatrical technician and manager, born London 10 April 1918, theatre manager Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, 1947-55, married 1955 Charles Zwar (died 1989; one daughter), died Oxford 2 September 1992.

DIANA ZWAR was theatre manager of the Lyric, Hammersmith, from 1947 to 1955 and a director of Stagesound Ltd, providing sound systems and special effects for theatres and broadcasting.

Her father was Lt-Col (later General) EA Plunkett, who served as a military attache in the Balkans during and after the First World War. The family joined him after the war, and photographs of the infant Diana with her nurse portray them against the backdrops of the embassies of Belgrade and the onion-domed churches of Sofia.

General Plunkett returned from the Balkans safe and sound only to be felled by a tram in Piccadilly. Diana underwent the conventional unremarkable education deemed to be proper for the daughters of the military, and her family were to watch her future career with some consternation. She was an avid theatre-goer, and during the Second World War, while serving with the Auxiliary Territorial Service in Salisbury, she crossed from audience to production in helping run the garrison theatre. In 1947, on the strength of her work, Tennent Productions appointed her - a comparative outsider and only 29 - theatre manager of the Lyric, Hammersmith, in west London, in succession to Lovat Fraser.

In the Forties and early Fifties the old Lyric Theatre was enjoying its heyday, before the building's increasing dilapidation spelt its eventual demise. A series of productions, both in the Lyric itself and on tour, enjoyed the participation of actors ranging from John Gielgud, Paul Scofield and Richard Burton to Kenneth Williams and Dora Bryan.

As well as working full-time at the theatre, Plunkett joined Bill Walton, the chief electrician at the Lyric, Hammersmith, in founding Stagesound Ltd, a company which provided sound equipment for theatres. Among the artists who worked at the Lyric was Charles Zwar, the Australian musician and composer of intimate revue, who contributed to The Lyric Revue and At The Lyric in the early Fifties. He was musical director of Sandy Wilson's musical The Buccaneer when he and Diana Plunkett were married in 1955.

At about this time Tennents gave up the Lyric and, as the Zwars' daughter grew up, Diana was able to work as a full-time director at Stagesound. The company was then branching out, providing speech-recording studios, film-dubbing theatres and tape- copying services for both theatre and broadcasting. In the early Seventies Stagesound was taken over by Theatre Projects Ltd and Diana Zwar remained with the company until 1976. By this time, Charles was in poor health, so she combined her care for him with administration work for the London Regional Examination Board.

Diana Zwar combined an astute efficiency and intelligence with elegance and gentleness. What she achieved was not by education or connections as by native ability and hard work. At the same time she took delight in her friends and family, especially, in her last years, in her grandchildren.

(Photograph omitted)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride