An award for outstanding Club members

Former chair David Brown explains the origins and purpose of the Pied Pipers' Martin Steele Award for outstanding contributions to the Club.

The club membership has always included people of many talents, above and beyond the demanding acting, singing and dancing required in musical theatre.

One such member was Martin Steele from Dartmouth, Devon, a graduate of St Catherine’s College Cambridge, who joined the Pied Pipers in the early 1980s. His commitment to the Club quickly became evident, and he joined the committee as secretary in 1982. He made an immediate impact with his meticulous minutes and, above all, his jovial, clever, and very witty newsletters – fun, but always straight to the point.

Tragically, though, after just a few years with the Club, Martin died in a car crash in 1983.

Even in his very short time with the Pied Pipers, it was clear that this delightful, talented young man had gained great respect and a vast number of friends. He had brought something very special to the club.

A few years later, at the request of Martin’s still grieving parents, some photographs and a video of a show which Martin appeared in were sent to them. Their gratitude was very evident when the club received a donation of £100 from Mr and Mrs Steele with a letter confirming how much happiness and enjoyment the Pied Pipers had given Martin during his unexpectedly short membership.

It was immediately and unanimously decided that this donation should be used for something special – and thus arose the Martin Steele Award: a wood carving in the form of Comedy and Tragedy masks, to be presented at each AGM to a Club member who had made an outstanding contribution to the Club.

There is no doubt that, after hearing about Martin, every recipient has been very proud to receive the Martin Steele Award.

Do you know a Club member who you think deserves the Martin Steele Award? Nominate them to the committee by emailing