Who run the (theatre) world? Girls.

Here at the Assembly Rooms, we are incredibly proud of our female-led team. On International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the wonderful women that keep this theatre surviving and thriving. Read on for a little info about our HBICs.

Kate Barton is the driving force behind the theatre. Before taking charge of the theatre, Kate studied philosophy at Durham 2013-2016. Throughout this time, she was dedicated to the student theatre scene: from her prolific involvement with Castle Theatre Company (which saw her tour Much Ado About Nothing around the United States) to writing her very own play, Screen 9 (recently performed in London!), Kate’s love for the arts shone through. This was carried on when she took on the sabbatical role of Theatre Development Coordinator, and continued as she progressed to become Head of Student Theatre in Durham. Kate’s work for the arts stretches beyond her duty to Durham’s student populace as she aims to support theatre in the local community, the North East, and touring companies from across the world.

Emily McLean was also a student at Durham before joining the team; after coordinating one national tour, winning an award, and heading to the Edinburgh Fringe twice, Emily is now the Theatre Development Coordinator for the university. As well as helping Kate look after the Assembly Rooms, she is also instrumental in supporting the student theatre scene, and still finds time to tread the boards herself sometimes. Her creativity, perseverance, and passion for the arts make her an invaluable part of the team. Her proudest achievement to date is naming the ice cream floats (Ben and Jerry, respectively).

Annabel Mahoney is our tireless operations assistant, who manages her position alongside completing her degree! She spends most of her time handling the box office finances, counting the stock, and carrying out the essential health and safety checks – despite these tasks not being the most exciting, Annabel does them all with a smile. Despite all of the hours she spends in the building working, Annabel also returns to produce the odd play here and there, with a special relationship with our comedy company, Ooook! Productions. As if that wasn’t enough, she is also a writer and essayist!

Elvira Parr, our marketing assistant, is a diligent blogger, social media master, and prolific poster-distributor. Also managing the position alongside her studies, Elvira’s dedication to the position is beyond admirable. Like Annabel, she too turns her hand to producing, spending as much time with theatre as possible! Clearly putting her literature degree to good use, if one of our tweets, stories, posts, or blogs catches your attention, it’s Elvira you have to thank.

Finally, we have Nieve-Jasmine Fox, our housekeeper. Artsy people aren’t necessarily the most clean and tidy, which is why we’re so grateful to have Nieve! Arriving every morning to a freshly-cleaned theatre is a good feeling, and that’s all down to Nieve. As well her cleaning duties, Nieve is also the first to flag any problems with the building, allowing us to get everything fixed and ship-shape as soon as possible. Her cheerfulness brightens up a Monday morning, and her diligence ensures that we can keep the theatre running smoothly all year round.

So there you have it – our team of theatrical wonder women. Without them, the Assembly Rooms would not be what it is today, and would not be able to do everything it does for the university and community. Well done, wonder women – we salute you!