Terence Knapp and cast

Knapp (front, center) with the cast of Blithe Spirit, 1983

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Kennedy Theatre celebrates the life and career of Emeritus Professor Terence Knapp on Saturday, October 19. The program begins on the main stage at Kennedy Theatre at 5:30 p.m. followed at 6:30 p.m. with High Tea and “talk story” on the lanai. The doors open at 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Knapp passed away on August 12 at the age of 87.

Terence Knapp

Knapp as Father Damien, 1976

Knapp, a classically trained actor, had an illustrious and wide ranging career on multiple continents before he was invited to Hawaiʻi in 1970 by Earl Ernst, the founding chairman of the UH Mānoa Department of Theatre and Dance. He became a mainstay in stage productions in the islands, working with many of the local theatres as well as the Honolulu Symphony, Hawaii Opera Theatre and PBS Hawaiʻi.

While Knapp brought many memorable characters to life on stage, he is perhaps best known for his performances as Father Damien, “the leper priest of Molokaʻi.” In 1976, Knapp directed himself in Aldyth Morris’ one-man show Damien, and performed the role internationally. Damien was broadcast nationally on PBS and won numerous national awards. Knapp was recognized by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature as “Hawaiʻi’s Adopted World Class Actor” for the role.

Other favorite roles at Kennedy Theatre included Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, the title role in The Miser and King Lear in Carol Sorgenfrei’s Cordelia Victorious.

Knapp received the UH Board of Regents Medal for Excellence in Teaching in 1977, and, in 2001, the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival was dedicated to Knapp in perpetuity.

Student scholarship contributions in Knapp’s memory may be made at the Celebration and online to The Friends of Kennedy Theatre Endowment Fund, enter FKT fund #20553803

Read more about Knapp’s life and work at the Kennedy Theatre website.

Terence Knapp

Knapp in The Miser, 1988