Obituaries

Georgia Ensemble Theatre Mourns Loss of Co-Founder & Artistic Director Robert Farley

Georgia Ensemble Theatre Mourns Loss of Co-Founder & Artistic Director Robert Farley

North Fulton's only professional theatre, Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET), is saddened to announce that beloved co-founder and Artistic Director Robert Farley passed away unexpectedly at home yesterday.

From the company's website:

"Today we write to you with heavy hearts to share some very sad news. Our co-founder and artistic director, Bob Farley, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday morning, November 30. All of us are stunned and grieving. You are all our family, so we wanted to reach out to tell you about this loss. Of course, we feel especially deeply for Bob's partner in all things, his wife Anita, and for his two daughters, their husbands and four grandchildren.

"Plans for memorial services have not been finalized, but we know that it will not be this weekend. As soon as the details are available, we will post them at get.org and Facebook. Please check there first in lieu of calling the theatre.

"Bob was a passionate leader, a committed artist, a person of many talents and interests, and most importantly, a much-beloved husband, father, and grandfather. He kept his hands on the reins and his shoulder to the wheel for 25 years at GET, and at the ALLIANCE THEATRE and Alaska Repertory Theatre before that. His leadership and influence were truly something special. He was due to retire from the theatre this coming April.

"Longtime collaborator and friend of Bob, award-winning playwright Topher Payne has eloquently written about his friend, and we share that with you now below:

'One of my last really great conversations with Bob Farley- in nearly a decade of them- was about endings. I was struggling with the final scene of my new script, Morningside. Basically, I'd written entirely too much (not an uncommon problem in my early drafts) and I was trying to whittle the scene down to its most essential parts. I kept thinking of the beautiful simplicity of the final moment in Driving Miss Daisy- Hoke feeding Daisy a slice of pumpkin pie. It perfectly encapsulates their relationship, the complicated power dynamics, the love they share. And as I thought of that, I realized the director who had explored that moment more than nearly any other artist happened to be a good friend of mine. So I made a drive to Roswell.

"'Bob and I talked at length about how stories end- my scripts, plays we both loved, plays we both couldn't stand, plays we disagreed on and would not budge an inch toward the other's point of view... He told me that if the writer has done their job over the course of the story, revealing who these characters are and why, then the ending is their payoff. You don't need a big finish. The slightest action is now informed by everything that came before it, and the observer will appreciate and understand it. It requires a respect for the artists, and their ability to convey a moment. It also requires a respect for your audience, knowing they were paying attention. In the case of Morningside, that advice led to audiences laughing and crying while they watched three women silently share a bag of Doritos. We loved that moment so much.

"'None of us had the chance to say a proper goodbye to Bob Farley. As news of his passing is shared, many who loved him will feel robbed of that opportunity. Today, I'm certainly feeling that. But I want you to remember what Bob knew about endings: If you did the work, if you paid attention, then the smallest deed- a nod of the head, a handshake, a few words in passing- was informed by everything that came before it.' - Topher Payne

"We hope that all of you will join with us in celebrating the life of this remarkable man who touched so many and made such a difference to us all. At this time, the Farley family would appreciate some time to grieve privately.

"Thank you for your support and care.

"The Staff of Georgia Ensemble Theatre"


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