Mum would be thrilled to know she’s still helping future theatre stars blossom

Theatre

This time of year in particular reminds us to be thankful for what we have. Especially the people in our lives and those sadly no longer with us whom we hold in our hearts. 

Losing our former front of house manager Marney Meakin was one of the hardest parts of 2020 / 2021. But she made an indelible impression on us and the many future theatre-makers she nurtured.

We hope we can do her legacy proud via the charitable fund we’ve set up in her memory which will help future participants pursue their dreams.

Marney’s daughter, Katy Judd, says: “Mum was kind, very encouraging, and very popular. She was friends with people of all different ages. Young people she was friends with instantly organised a little memorial online when she died.

“She was always encouraging people with their career. A lot of ushers would come through the National Theatre [when she ran front of house] who would go on to have glorious careers in acting, design, or management. And she loved The Garage. She’d be thrilled with how this fund will help young people. It’s wonderful.”

Marney was a work mum to some now familiar faces in the theatre world such as actor Simon Callow, director Edward Hall, and producer Peter Wilson.

Katy recalls: “It was long hours, but she found her work life very fulfilling and really enjoyed it. But equally devoted to her family as well. We weren’t shortchanged in any way. She’d see everything. She’d go to the theatre five days a week if she could. So, she made sure I saw the absolute best things. She’d say, ‘you must see this’ or you ‘mustn’t miss that’.

“It was very exciting [as a child] and great fun going to the theatre and being able to go backstage. I remember following her down the corridor of the National Theatre to the green room or something.

“I remember the VIP room, mum would be hosting that and whichever famous people were in that night and telling us ‘The Queen has sat on that toilet’ which as children you’d think ‘ooh, we’re sitting on the same one’.

“She used to take my children backstage at the Theatre Royal in Norwich and they just absolutely loved it. You can imagine though, ‘do not touch anything on the props table’.”

Marney was bitten by the theatre bug at an early age thanks to her mum.

“She [my grandmother] was a big theatre fan. I think they used to go every week. My mum as a little girl would tag along and completely loved it – reading the programme, the swish of the curtain. She conveyed the wonder of theatre to us [growing up].”

Katy was never inspired to take the stage though.

“That might have been sad for her, but no, we all did slightly different things. I’ve been a nurse for 40 plus years. She was always proud and interested and I was proud and interested in her work I just wasn’t bitten by the same bug. She’d be through the roof knowing you’re helping those who have been.”

You can find out more about the fund and how to donate via our support page.

In case you missed it, our spring term of classes begin on Monday 9 January. You can find out more about those here and our educational courses here.

Our friendly front of house team is happy to answer any questions. Give them a call on 01603 283382 or email info@thegarage.org.uk.

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More Memories of Marney

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