MALVERN, PA.: This coming Saturday, Nov. 8, People’s Light & Theatre will pay tribute to one of the region’s leading lights, Gregory T. Rowe, who died in early October at the age of 63 after more than a year struggling with cancer. Rowe served as People’s Light’s managing director during a key period in the theatre’s growth, from 1983 to 1997, before joining Pew Charitable Trusts, first as a program officer, then as director of culture initiatives and deputy director of the Philadelphia Program.
Rowe is survived by his mother, Jean Rowe, and his husband, and partner of 28 years, Ken Hamm; the couple lived in nearby of Berwyn, Pa. A native of Bern, N.C., Rowe received his M.B.A. from Temple University Graduate School of Business, as well as an M.A. from the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. from the Department of Theatre at North Carolina Central University.
One among many projects with his fingerprints on it was the Cultural Data Project, an online fiscal-management tool which Rowe was involved with from its inception in 2001 through 2011. The CDP is now used by thousands of cultural organizations and more than 100 funders throughout the country.
Productions under his watch at People’s Light included The Gospel at Colonus and a six-hour adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, and programs he helped intitiate include Free Fest, a series of free nightly performances and preplay workshops for children, and Arts Discovery, a free program for high school students that continues to this day.
It’s more than fitting, then, that a memorial service to celebrate Rowe’s abundant life will take place on the People’s Light stage. The company is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, Pa., and the service begins at 1:00 p.m. on Nov. 8. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the People’s Light & Theatre Company.