Tributes paid to theatre stalwart Alan Cochrane as friends say ‘heaven will be full of laughter’

Maureen and Alan Cochrane were a devoted couple for 54 years
Maureen and Alan Cochrane were a devoted couple for 54 years
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TRIBUTES have flooded in for an award-winning theatre stalwart who has died at the age of 81.

Alan Cochrane, known for his work with the Edinburgh People’s Theatre (EPT), also wrote six plays, including Fringe First prize winner, Hatches, Matches and 
Dispatches.

The prequel, Ne’er the Twain, set in a tenement flat on the Edinburgh-Leith border in October 1919, just before the two areas merged, was 
performed at this year’s Fringe to strong reviews.

Though his health was already failing, Alan, who lived in Stockbridge, was able to attend the final performance of the run.

He died peacefully on Sunday at the Western General Hospital.

Maureen, his wife of 43 years who he met while working at the EPT, said: “He was a wonderful man, the funniest I knew. I always said, I only married him because he made me laugh. He was a lovely man, very kind, plus a fabulous actor, director and playwright. He had six published plays, and won a Fringe First award. I was and always will be very proud of him. I’ve had hundreds of cards from people saying how much they will miss him, including one that said heaven will be full of laughter now that he is there.”

Irene Beaver, president of the Edinburgh People’s Theatre, first met the couple over 40 years ago.

She said: “Alan took a chance when he cast me in The De’il’s Awa, which was his second play. He was so patient and helpful, it was a pleasure to be directed by him.”

In September last year, a surprise tribute night was thrown in Maureen’s honour to mark her retirement at the age of 74.

Director Laura Reed, who worked with Alan on a number of productions, said: “Their nephew David, who they always said was like the son they never had, put together the tribute for Maureen, though it was really for Alan too.

“They were a formidable unit, two halves of the same whole. They were married for 43 years but had actually been together for 54. They would always say they wasted 11 years being best friends before they eventually twigged.

“Alan was such a wonderful person. He was in his 80s but sharp as a tack. He had the ability to reduce an entire room to tears of laughter with one line, even just one word.”

A family notice announcing Alan’s death described him as a “Raconteur with a great wit and heart of gold”.

His nephew David, regional general manager at The George Hotel, added: “He was an amazingly sharp-witted, good man, with a huge heart.”

Alan’s funeral will be held in Lorimer Chapel, Warriston Crematorium, at 3pm on Tuesday. All are welcome but the family have requested no flowers.

jen.lavery@edinburghnews.com