Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Mary Sweeney 1923 - 2015

Today we received the sad news that one of our longest serving and much loved members of staff at the Citizens Theatre has passed away. Mary Sweeney worked Front of House at the theatre for over 40 years as our ‘Chief’ usher, retiring in 2003 at the age of 80.

Mary with her granddaughter Jenny in her seat M13

She celebrated her 90th birthday at the theatre and today we share again the words of friend and colleague Christine Hamilton who paid tribute to the impact she made on staff and audiences alike during her illustrious career at the Citz:

"For forty years Mary Sweeney was the public face of the Citizens Theatre. While Giles Havergal was often to be found graciously welcoming the audience into his theatre in the Gorbals, it was Mary who was bustling around in the background ensuring the ushers, bar and door staff were all in place, patrons welcomed and directed to their seats, school parties efficiently herded into the right place and those with problems with walking or in wheelchairs, accommodated without fuss. Regular patrons could be sure of a word of recognition along with the welcome and, at the end of the show, no matter how startling, shocking or controversial, she gently sought their views with neither pressure nor judgement. All of this happened apparently seamlessly – without fuss or drama. Problems dealt with, crises diverted. When today I hear the well-worn phrase ‘your safety and comfort is our priority’, I think of Mary, the very embodiment of customer care before the phrase was invented.”


Mary enjoying her 90th party 

Mary also appeared (very briefly) on stage during her career with the theatre, when director Philip Prowse asked her to be an extra in A Waste of Time – an adaptation of Proust’s great novel by Robert David Macdonald.

Mary on stage in A Waste of Time

Artistic Director, Dominic Hill said: “When I first joined the Citizens, Mary was introduced to me on our opening nights as someone who had influenced generations of staff who she took under her wing during those incredible 40 years of service to the company. She embodied everything about the Citz and how it welcomes audiences to performances. We are saddened to hear of her passing today but her legacy will live on for many years to come.”

General Manager, Lesley Davidson said: “Mary was dedicated to the Citizens and was adored by staff and audiences. She was truly a ‘one off’ and will be sadly missed by us all.”

The inimitable Mary Sweeney

The funeral will take place on Wednesday 5 August, 10am at St Gabriel's Church, Merrylee Road then Carnbooth House Hotel in Carmunnock.