Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds artistic director Karen Simpson is stepping down following an incurable cancer diagnosis.
Simpson will leave the post of chief executive and artistic director in February 2020 after six and a half years.
She has been living with an incurable cancer diagnosis for the past two and a half years and wants to spend more time with friends and family, according to a press statement from the theatre.
The statement adds that Simpson managed to move the venue to a more sustainable business model, after it had been “in danger of closure with significant financial difficulties” when she joined.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone for welcoming me to the region and making this experience such a rewarding one,” Simpson said.
“The support I have received from the board, staff, volunteers and the general public has been overwhelming and enabled me to continue to work through much of this period.”
She added: “I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved at Theatre Royal and know that I leave the theatre in a good place for future generations to enjoy.”
Roger Quince, chairman of the theatre’s board, said: “Karen has made a stunning contribution in her six and a half years with the theatre.
“As artistic director she has greatly broadened our programme and brought in new audiences, in particular young families, and increased the number and quality of our own productions.”
Adrian Grady, who has been providing cover for Simpson, will continue in the role of general manager and interim chief executive alongside Marcus Romer as interim artistic director.