BATH Theatre Royal’s marketing manager, Anna O’Callaghan, is retiring on 16th April after completing more than 38 years of full-time service at Bath’s historic theatre.
Theatre Royal director Danny Moar says: “Not only is Anna one of the longest serving marketing managers of any UK regional theatre, but she has made a remarkable contribution to the growth and development of the Theatre Royal as it established itself firstly as an independent charitable trust in the 1980s and then grew over the years into one of the country’s leading theatres. The theatre’s consistently high ticket sales over the years are a testament both to Anna’s profound marketing acumen and her knowledge and understanding of our audience.”
Anna says: “It has been a huge privilege to work at this beautiful historic building in glorious Bath, doing my perfect job for so many years. There is no feeling so exhilarating as looking out at a packed auditorium as the lights dim and the audience goes quiet with anticipation; to be surrounded by a house so rapt you can’t even hear a pin drop or engulfed in an explosion of rapturous applause and to know that your efforts may have played some part in encouraging those people to make the decision to be there.”
Over the years, Anna has seen a huge range of shows, more than 1500, often starring the UK’s finest actors, “and I have been fortunate to work alongside some wonderful colleagues. They are behind the scenes – in the offices, the box office, front-of-house and backstage – but this is an amazing team effort, dedicated to making an excellent experience for all.”
Looking ahead, Anna says: “It is reassuring to know that a superb season is just about to be announced and it feels as if those full houses and a return to normality are within reach again. So many people have worked so hard to make it happen. For me, even though I won’t be directly involved anymore, Theatre Royal Bath will always be in my heart.”
Anna O’Callaghan (née Farr) started her career at the Theatre Royal Bath in September 1982. She joined the marketing department as a secretary at an extraordinary time for the theatre, which had undergone a major refurbishment. During her first three months, a fund-raising campaign continued apace while arrangements were also in full swing for the re-opening.
On 21st November 1982, there was a special gala benefit of the world premiere of Noel Coward’s Star Quality with an all-star cast, swiftly followed by the official re-opening on 30th November, marked by a grand performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, attended by Princess Margaret.
In the early 1990s, Anna became head of the marketing department. Throughout a busy career Anna has led her team to market many thousands of shows across the Theatre Royal’s three venues – the Main House, Ustinov Studio and The Egg theatre.
In 2005, Anna wrote a book to mark the Theatre Royal’s bicentenary. Published in the 200th anniversary year and titled, Past Present Future: A Recent History of the Theatre Royal Bath, the book covers the eventful 26-year period from 1979 to 2005.
Anna’s final task has been to produce a new season brochure launching the re-opening season, with details of productions scheduled to appear in all three of the auditoria from 25th May to January 2022.
Pictured: Anna O’Callaghan in front off the theatre.