TRIBUTES have been paid to a former artistic director of Frinton Summer Theatre, who has died aged 57.

Edward Max, who ran the popular theatre from 2004 to 2012, died on January 3 following complications related to a long-running illness.

The theatre’s current artistic director Clive Brill paid tribute to his “good friend”.

He said: “Anyone who has had anything to do with Frinton Summer Theatre will have come across Ed at some point.

“A large, lovely, loud, knowledgeable and eloquent man whose passion for Frinton Summer theatre and theatre in general oozed out of every pore.

“He ran the summer theatre with huge vigour and commitment, modernising this great institution and raising the bar in terms of play choice, production management and design.

“He was introduced to the theatre by his family - long associated with Frinton - and had his first taste of the boards in 1985 when he was given the chance to be assistant stage manager.

“He freely admitted this role was not to be his forte but it instilled in him a love of the place and a great understanding of how things worked.”

Mr Max went on to have a successful career as an actor and drama teacher.

Mr Brill added: “Without Ed, I would never have come to Frinton and to that extent he changed my life.

“He gave me a chance to act on stage again when others wouldn’t - and after a lovely first meeting at The National Theatre, he cast me in Charley’s Aunt and Art in 2012.

“We became firm friends and co-conspirators after that and we shared a passionate enthusiasm for what makes Frinton Summer Theatre so unique.

“He gave me a chance and many others, actors, directors, technicians and writers alike.

“He loved sharing his wisdom and he put on some great shows.”

Mr Brill added that he was pleased to be able to return the favour by casting Mr Max in the Radio 4 series The Corrupted as the irrepressible lawyer, Lord Goodman, and as the first director of a big musical, Fiddler on the Roof, on Frinton Greensward.

Ed leaves his wife Anna and three children.

A funeral service was held in Nacton, Suffolk, on Tuesday.