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Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds boss Karen Simpson dies after cancer battle

The chief executive and artistic director of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has died following a battle with cancer.

Karen Simpson, 62, was due to step down from the theatre in February to spend more time with family and friends after living with an incurable cancer diagnosis for the past two and a half years.

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

Karen Simpson
Karen Simpson

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

Roger Quince, chairman of the 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.

With a vision to create a theatre for everyone, 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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