Former artistic director of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Karen Simpson has died following an incurable cancer diagnosis.
In November last year, Simpson announced her intention to leave the post of chief executive and artistic director in February 2020 in order to spend more time with friends and family.
However, according to a statement from the theatre, Simpson’s health declined more rapidly than expected, and she died on January 4.
Roger Quince, the chairman of Theatre Royal’s board, said: “This is indeed an extremely sad day for myself, [finance director] 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 [her husband and daughters].”
Simpson was in the post of artistic director and chief executive of the theatre for six and a half years, following roles as creative director with Sheffield Theatres and artistic and executive director with the Oxfordshire Theatre Company.
The theatre previously announced that Grady was covering the role of interim chief executive alongside Marcus Romer as interim artistic director.