Death announced of Karen Simpson chief executive and artistic director at the Theatre Royal

Karen Simpson, 62, the chief executive and artistic director of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has died following a battle with cancer.

She announced in November 2019 that she would be stepping down from her role as CEO and artistic director after six and a half year in post following an incurable cancer diagnosis.

But her health sadly declined more rapidly than expected and she passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 4, surrounded by her family.

Karen leaves her husband, Tony Kelly and daughters Sammy, Katie and Jenny.

Roger Quince, chairman of Theatre Royal Board, said: “This is indeed an extremely sad day for myself, Adrian Grady and all staff, volunteers and cast at Theatre Royal. Karen will be sorely missed as both a colleague and a friend. Our deepest sympathy and thoughts are with Tony and the girls.”

Karen joined the theatre in 2013 when it faced significant financial difficulties and was in danger of closure.

She helped grow its audiences year on year, reconnected the theatre with the community and returned it to a sustainable financial position.

General manager Adrian Grady had been covering for Karen as general manager/interim CEO aided by Marcus Romer as interim artistic director.

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