BAT says goodbye to one of its own.
He was born Hans Hartog in the Dutch East Indies, but grew up and attended college in the Netherlands. He also served in the Dutch Armed Forces. He moved to Canada in the 1950’s and attended the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta. Henry became a professional actor,under the name Henry Hart. He also directed many plays in the Vancouver, B.C. area, and received a Best Director award at a Vancouver International Play Festival.
Henry worked for Pan-American Airlines in several different cities and eventually settled in Seattle and joined the production staff of the Seattle Opera Company. He directed plays throughout the Puget Sound region; in Everett, Edmonds, Monroe, Gig Harbor and Whidby Island.
Burien audiences first met Henry when he directed “The Glass Menagerie” in January 1997 at BLT. He was a fan of Tennessee Williams and this was his favorite play, which he directed three times, in different locations.
In 1998 Henry directed in Edmonds and Monroe, returning to Burien in 1999 to direct “An Inspector Calls”. Upon his return Henry joined the BLT Board of Trustees and was elected Vice President. In 2000 he became President of the Board and worked hard to find a building for a permanent home for BLT, however, escalating property values kept this out of reach. That year, he also directed “Grace and Glorie” at BLT. He became an Emeritus Trustee after retiring from the office of President, but continued to volunteer, including directing one-act plays for various community events.
In 2005 Henry and several other Emeritus Trustees saw a chance to strengthen and revitalize BLT, and so he re-joined the BLT Board of Trustees. Henry was once again elected President of the Board. In January of 2006 he directed the comedy “Sylvia,” a turning point in the strengthening of what is now BAT.
Henry remained an active member of BLT for several years and played the leading role in the drama, “Visiting Mr. Green” in May 2007. He was proud that, even years later, people would see him in a store and say, “I remember you from the play ‘Mr. Green.’ I really loved that play”.
Henry moved from his long-time home in Normandy Park to the retirement home, Fernwood in the Park in the summer of 2013. While at Fernwood, Henry helped arrange theater parties to was by that time called Burien Actors Theatre. As part of his move to Fernwood Henry also donated his extensive script collection to BAT.
BAT would not be here without the hard work and dedication of countless volunteers, donors and fans. A standout among those who have driven BAT forward was Henry Eugene Hart. When he took his final bow the heavens were ablaze.
When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
Julius Caesar (1599) – Act II, scene 2, line 30.