Owen Calvert-Lyons – Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
It’s not often we meet people whose responsibilities span financial commitment and artistic expertise, so it was a real pleasure to talk to Owen Calvert-Lyons; Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds.
Passionate about theatre from a young age, Owen tells us about how he began his theatrical journey in youth theatre, before studying at Bristol University. He then worked in theatres all around the country before joining the Regency gem that is Theatre Royal, just before the pandemic hit.
Conscious that the arts always play a significant role in times of national trauma, the theatre quickly
redefined its purpose. Digital theatre engagement platforms were set up to support a wide range of vulnerable groups in the community. For the rest of the town, Owen’s first production, A Christmas Carol, was made possible by transforming a car park into a theatre over-night; suddenly making theatre accessible to everyone.
The local community truly demonstrated its love for the theatre and the sense of how vital it is to the region through the funds that were raised back in 2020. As a registered charity, every penny raised goes towards goes to educational activities and work with the community.
Owen talks about the joy of opening the doors again In May 2021 and inviting audiences to rediscover the magic of theatre; experiencing the moment of collective electricity that ripples through the audience as the stage is set and the lights go down.
High hopes are pinned on the success of this year’s forthcoming pantomime, Cinderella (arriving at the ball over a year late!), and there are countless other shows and performances scheduled, to tempt every kind of theatre-goer back into this special Grade 1 listed theatre.