Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Offstage Insights: Head of Development

Posted on: 29th August, 2023

Introducing Emma Suckling, Head of Development here at Theatre Royal.

How long have you worked in the theatre industry?

17 years.

How long have you worked at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds?

16 years.

What is your role in the theatre?

Head of Development.

What are your main responsibilities?

Devising and implementing a strategy for raising the requisite funding to meet our annual target of £200,000 through Sponsorship, Individual Giving, Fundraising Events, Major Donations and Trusts and Foundation applications including local authority funding sources. I also raise money for our project and outreach work and for capital items at the theatre.

How did you get into this role?

I have a background in funding and development – I worked for many years at several funders including the Millennium Commission, Arts Council, the UK Film Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund as a Case Manager and Programme Co-ordinator. I also worked at the Unicorn Theatre in Development before joining Theatre Royal. I did my work experience at Theatre Royal, aged 16, and from then I was hooked!

Do you remember what applying for your job felt like?

Yes, I was really nervous because I really wanted the job – I was really excited that the job I wanted had come up too.

What’s your favourite part about your job?

The people I get to work with – both in the team here and our donors and sponsors. Theatre Royal inspires mighty support from brilliant people, and I love that.

How many people are in your team?


What is your top tip/s for someone looking to get into your role?

Try and find work experience and, if you can, voluntary work, to get experience and meet people.

Do you need any qualifications to get into this role? If so, what would you suggest?


What has been your favourite production at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds?

I loved A Christmas Carol in 2020 and I adore every pantomime we produce. Going back a bit, a touring production of A Beautiful Thing was a favourite of mine and inspired me when I was doing my A levels.

What is your favourite theatre phrase/word? E.g. proscenium, upstage, rig

‘The House is Now Open!’


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