Obituary: Pat Lovett, choreographer who came to Scotland and found her calling as a theatrical agent
THE theatre, film and television agent Pat Lovett, who has died in Edinburgh aged 67 after a 20-year struggle with emphysema, led a remarkable late-20th-century life, one that carried her from an ordinary suburban home in Blackheath, London through all the glamour of 1960s swinging London at its height, to an outstanding professional career as perhaps the best loved, most respected and most effective agent yet to work from and in Scotland.
Born in Woolwich, East London, in 1945, Pat was named Patricia Diane Lovett, the youngest of three daughters of Fred – an engineer who eventually set up his own driving school – and Irene, a seamstress.
Pat went to convent school, then started ballet training at the Royal Academy of Dance. She appeared in a children’s Christmas show at the new Royal Festival Hall, continued her dance training at Arts Educational in London, and graduated straight onto the West End stage in the early 1960s, appearing at theatres such as the Palladium, and on many variety shows for London Weekend Television.
In her early career as a dancer, Pat worked with Bruce Forsyth and Cliff Richard, among many others stars. She hung out with the Beatles and remembered drinking too much champagne at John Lennon’s 24th birthday party in 1964. She became a member of the legendary Young Generation dance team, and appeared with Pan’s People, and on the groundbreaking television show Ready Steady Go – although, like all the other dancers, she had to leave on grounds of age as soon as she turned 21.
She also appeared in many iconic 1960s British films, including Half A Sixpence, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Boyfriend, starring Twiggy. It was on the set of The Boyfriend that she first tested her skills as a negotiator, becoming an Equity rep, and demanding that the director, Ken Russell, pay the dancers extra danger money for dancing high on the wings of an aeroplane.
In the early 1970s, Pat began to move into choreography, and on an assignment to choreograph variety shows for Scottish Television, in 1972-73, she found herself in a heated argument with one of the cameramen, Stuart Logan, about which French cigarettes were best, Gauloises or Gitanes.
She fell in love with Stuart and with Scotland, and never returned to London. The couple married in 1974, and their daughter Dolina was born in 1976.
During those years, Pat worked as a choreographer on various Scottish pantomimes and stage shows, but then – as a lifelong woman of the left – began to move towards the radical Scottish theatre of the time, working as a movement director with 7:84 Scotland, Borderline Theatre and the Young Lyceum Company.
After Dolina’s birth, she looked for work that would not involve long theatrical tours, and became publicity manager at the Traverse Theatre in the Grassmarket during one of the most exciting periods of its history, when writers like John Byrne, Tom McGrath and Donald Campbell were emerging onto the national stage.
Then, in 1981, she took over the Esel Theatrical Agency, later renaming it PLA, or Pat Lovett Associates, and it was soon clear that she had found her vocation in a job that allowed her to combine her passionate love for theatre and her sharp eye for excellence and potential in performance, with terrific, straight-talking negotiating skills, and the kind of support for actors that also involved plenty of lively, honest conversation about the shape of their careers.
Pat was famous in Scottish theatre, in the 1980s and 90s, for her red-haired good looks, her glamour, her energy, her wonderful husky laugh, and her terrific sense of humour, but she was also a passionately intelligent woman whose good judgment was legendary.
In 1990, her daughter Dolina joined the agency, which became Lovett Logan Associates. They made an impressive team, and the agency continues its work today, under Dolina’s direction.
Over the past 20 years, Pat’s life was increasingly shadowed by her worsening illness, but she continued to work until a few years ago, attending opening nights around Scotland and advising a group of clients which – at different times – included stars like Kevin McKidd and Iain Glen.
In a field traditionally dominated by big London-based agencies, she offered a strong and sophisticated Scottish perspective, and an obvious focal point for the work of Scottish and Scottish-based theatre artists. Pat was also a passionate mother and grandmother, who took great delight in her family. Her marriage to Stuart Logan ended in 1981, although they remained firm friends.
A second marriage, to the Scottish playwright Raymond Raszkowski Ross, was dissolved in the early 1990s and, 20 years ago, she met her great and devoted friend Tam Jamieson, who became a member of her family, and cared for her during her last years.
Pat is survived by Tam, by her daughter Dolina and “soul-in-law” Kevin, by her granddaughter Natasha, by her two older sisters, Sandra and Rita, and by theatre, film and television communities that will always remember her as an outstanding agent and friend, a woman who, like many of her generation, wanted to challenge existing patterns of power, and who used her work to do that, in a way that was as practical as it was intelligent, determined, and inspirational.