Karen played a key role in the establishment and later the management of what became the dlr Mill Theatre. Now, as company manager of Mill Productions, she produces the four shows that it currently presents each year.
Her life-long interest in theatre, and involvement in direction, production and education, was instrumental in her taking a central role in the development of the theatre, and its production wing, as a significant community cultural element in the development of Dundrum Town Centre.
That initiative stemmed from Karen’s membership of the Board of the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire from 2001 to 2005. During that time she became involved with the Dundrum Town Centre project, which was being planned by Joe O’Reilly’s Castlethorn Construction. Karen resigned from the Pavilion Theatre as she became a key player in advancing the building of the theatre component of the new centre. The Mill Theatre, which was donated by Castlethorn Construction to the local community, opened in 2006. Several of the first shows were directed by Karen before turning her attention to producing with the newly established production wing of the theatre, Mill Productions.
In common with other sectors of the local community, the theatre faced many challenges in the years following the financial crisis of 2008. In response, from 2010, Karen became acting theatre manager on a pro bono basis for a number of years. During that time, and since the appointment of Kate Canning as Theatre Manager, Karen has produced four shows a year. On celebrating its first 10 years, the theatre was renamed dlr Mill Theatre in the summer of 2016, acknowledging the support of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, which from that date became the theatre’s primary funder.
In her role as company manager and producer for Mill Productions, Karen is focused on the quality of the shows, the production values and the professionalism of the work that is presented mostly in dlr Mill Theatre, but also in some other venues when opportunities arise. She is delighted by the fact that audiences – from school students to members of the public from the local community and beyond — have enjoyed what Mill Productions has brought to the stage.
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