Published on 21/01/21

By Michael McCarthy MBE


A Fond Farewell to Carole Strachan

Published on 21/01/21

By Michael McCarthy MBE

It is with huge sadness, matched only by inestimable gratitude and admiration, that we are saying goodbye to our Chief Executive – Carole Strachan. This moment cannot go unmarked, and whilst we wait for a time to come when we can celebrate her amazing contribution to MTW in person, I would like to acknowledge her achievements and shout from the metaphorical rooftops how much I and the MTW Board want to thank her.

Although I had been aware of her since my early days in Cardiff in the early 80’s when Carole was Head of Marketing at WNO, and despite the fact that she had seen the first ever production of the company in 1988 at St Donats, we did not get to know Carole until 2005 when she was brought in to review our fundraising. She approached this with what we quickly discovered was her usual energy, insight and commitment, and there was no looking back.

First and foremost, Carole quite simply “got it”. She liked our ambition, and whilst she recognised the achievements, she could see how much more potential there was. Most of all, she liked who we were and the way we approached our work. So, when Rachel Dominy decided it was time for her to move on in 2008, Carole took the bold decision to cease trading as an independent consultant and take the lead at MTW. It has been a quite incredible journey ever since!

Carole has been utterly transformative for MTW. Ambition was always key to our success, but it also demands unbelievable commitment from those who work for the company. Carole took it all in her stride and drove the company even harder. But the thing that was always there was how everything she did was for the benefit of the work we created, and how much she loved that work, from Punch and Judy to In The Penal Colony, and from The Killing Flower to Stori y Milwr/The Soldier’s Tale and Passion to Denis & Katya. Her connection to the work was heartfelt and created positive waves across the entire company. She loved and had the deepest respect and admiration for the composers, designers, writers, singers, musicians, stage managers and technical staff who gave of their all to MTW. She attended every performance, living the moment and relishing the thrill of seeing the work she had done so much to bring to the stage, and over which she exercised subtle but significant creative oversight, take flight. Her infectious joy would be shared with funders, partners, presenters and audiences and I have no doubt this brought many closer to the cause! And she loved the people she shared an office with. She gave them all such incredible support, enabling them to do their best for MTW as well as for themselves, providing clear leadership, inspiring advice, steady guidance and limitless friendship. I know they will continue to benefit from Carole’s affection and interest.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, but each storm was navigated with rigour and a determination to make things better and learn from the experience. Without doubt, Carole has enabled me to develop. She has encouraged, cajoled, supported and edited with a firm yet sympathetic hand. She has been the most fantastic colleague and friend, always willing to chew the cud, never happy to let anything pass that could be better, and hugely supportive. Her phenomenal memory coupled with a forensic attention to detail have been exceptional assets for me and MTW, and we quite simply wouldn’t have achieved so much without her.

She also never let a good story go untold, and entertained so many of us through thick and thin. Astonishingly, she also managed to write two novels!

I sincerely wish Carole all the very best for the next steps on her extraordinary career and look forward to hearing all about it.

Michael McCarthy