Anna Heatley

Anna emerges from backstage to return to the spotlight

It’s always nice to hear how each of our scholars reacts to the news that their application to receive a scholarship has been successful.

Sharing the news with Anna Heatley was particularly memorable when, by pure coincidence, she discovered that her achievements were being recognised on what was already a day of celebration!

Awarded an Excellence Scholarship in recognition of her dedication to creative arts, Anna talked to me about making the transition from being a performer to working behind the scenes on various productions which her commendable charity work has helped to bring to an audience.

Although Anna prefers being a stage manager or set designer to being part of a cast these days, I’m happy to throw the spotlight on her one more time as a deserving scholarship winner!

“It was my 23rd birthday, I was out celebrating, when I received a phone call from Edge Hill University informing me that I had been awarded an Excellence Scholarship in Creative Arts. I was in shock, I had never expected to be selected. It was great news, especially as a mature student I was nervous about embarking on a degree and so this news settled my nerves and gave me confidence.

Over the past 15 years I have joined 6 dramatic organisations, all charity funded, within my local community. It all started when I joined the Warrenpoint Pantomime Club, at the age of seven. Since then I’ve played various roles in numerous productions, both musicals and classic plays. However, as I progressed with my involvement with these organisations, I realised I wasn’t born to perform, I was destined to combine my other passions with theatre.

I completed a 3D Art course a couple of years ago that equipped me with the skills required to be involved with other aspects of the theatrical world such as make-up, lighting, sound, set design and construction. I have worked backstage on various productions including Godspell, Footloose, The Beauty Queen of Leenan, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Frankenstein. My efforts were recognised when working on these sets by receiving the following nominations:

  • Youngest Stage Manager in Newry and Mourne (Footloose 2012)
  • Youngest Set Designer (Godspell, 2011, Footloose 2012, The Yalta Game 2012, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern 2013 and Frankenstien 2014

As all of the societies I have been involved with relied on charitable funding, I have spent a great deal of time helping in fundraising schemes which enable the productions to go ahead. As I embark on my degree in BA (Hons) Theatre Design I hope to continue my involvement with both fundraising and with set design.”

I can safely say that Anna has stuck to her word as I have seen her at events around campus fundraising and campaigning for the ‘Coppafeel’ campaign, a worthwhile cause in getting females to check their breasts. If you are interested in finding out more about this charity, please visit