Anna Johnson

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Last week, I heard Anna would be Exeter Northcott’s new Marketing Manager. Her brother Luke posted on Facebook that he was “incredibly proud of his little sister”. I was surprised by how similarly fraternal my feelings were.

Anna joined the Bike Shed straight from Exeter University. She had directed an imaginative interpretation of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, integrating live film for close-ups of the performers. It was shown in the venue as part of the Exeter Fringe Festival in 2010. After a performance, we got chatting at the bar and I asked her the question everyone gets asked as they’re about to enter the big wide world: “so, what next?”.

“I think I’d like to work in marketing”.

Two months later, Anna was thrown into the deep end of the turbulent months of our first Autumn. Four in-house productions, ten-odd visiting companies, no effective line-management. Looking back, the lack of support Anna was given was shocking. If I was being generous to us (or naive, or lying), I’d say that it was all part of a master plan in learning self-motivation and initiative. More realistically, it was a cock-up of poor leadership and we were unbelievably lucky that Anna had such reserves of patience and inner strength. She has a remarkable toughness of character. She doesn’t give up.

Over two years, Anna grew in confidence and ability. In 2012, she left us to join Circomedia in Bristol. But her heart remained in Exeter and fortunately the right job lured her back. It is a great coup for the Northcott and fantastic for the city. I hope she’ll forgive the diminutive, but I’m incredibly proud of little Anna.

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