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Profile: Catriona Downie, Marketing Manager

Can you describe your job in 1 sentence?
Difficult! Basically I oversee the marketing for all the various activities that Scottish Opera is involved in - from large-scale productions in big theatres to small shows in village halls, education activity, fundraising activity, concerts and any one-off projects that crop up. That includes writing text for all the leaflets and posters we produce, organising advertising, writing and sending out mailing letters and maintaining our website. It also involves setting up box offices for smaller scale performances, being a front of house manager where necessary, and dealing with any publicity material needed by the other departments in the Company. There are 5 of us in the Marketing Department but we’re all kept very busy!


What do you love about working in opera?
It’s a manic life but I love it. The people who work here are all really passionate about what they do and you can’t help but be enthused by that. Opera is an amazing art-form. It’s not one I was very familiar with before I got this job, and I’m still learning something new about it every day, but when it’s good, it’s in a league of its own. I suppose I would say that though…I wouldn’t be very good at my job if I didn’t!


10 years ago, did you imagine that you would be working for this Company?
I had just left school 10 years ago so no! When I was 18 I did one of those career questionnaire things that suggests jobs that suit your likes/dislikes and it had me down as a potential architect or prison officer…not quite what I’ve ended up doing.I always wanted to work in the arts, I just wasn’t sure exactly where or in what capacity.


What has been your most memorable opera experience so far?
I went to a performance of one of the Primary School Tours that our Education Department ran a couple of years ago. There was a little boy in the front row with a massive grin on his face, singing his heart out. English wasn’t his first language and he’d been having real trouble in class. His teacher told me it was the first time he’d really been able to take part in what his classmates were doing. Makes me want to cry just thinking about it!


What do you do when you're not working?
Lots of sleeping and lots of singing. I’m no opera singer, but I sing in various choirs and run one at Glasgow University with a friend. And I drink a lot of tea, but then I do that when I’m working too.


What 3 things might people be surprised to learn about you?

I know all the words to the Milky Way advert from 1989 (you know the one…The red car and the blue car had a race…)
I spent 6 months working with Tony Robinson on one of his TV shows.
In the last 18 months, I’ve been to see Marilyn Manson, AD:DC, Metallica, Monster Magnet and Machine Head live. I’m not sure I like it, but my husband does.


Where is your favourite place to be in the world?
In bed with a good book and a cup of tea. Or on the beach at North Berwick trying to catch sand-hoppers. Try it…it’s surprisingly hard.