Biography: Mari O'Neill
Mari O’Neill is Director of UK Operations at TRG Arts, overseeing support for the National Campaign for the Arts and the conference program for UK theatres.
Whilst undertaking a Performance degree on viola at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, Mari worked in the College’s box office and marketing departments. This experience convinced Mari to develop a career in arts management, bringing artists and audiences together. To this end, she created and managed a series of musical showcases benefitting a local children’s cancer charity and volunteered at Buxton Opera Festival in a variety of roles from stage manager to shop assistant, administrative assistant to bar attendant. After completing her degree, she joined Anvil Arts in Basingstoke, Hampshire as marketing assistant, before moving to the marketing team at HQ Theatre’s then newly-reopened Watford Colosseum. There, she was responsible for setting up and implementing the communications and social media strategies, managing a loyalty scheme, and developing the venue’s involvement in street arts festival Imagine Watford.
As the inaugural Family Arts Festival launched in 2013, Mari joined the Family Arts Campaign team as communications and administration officer. This UK-wide, cross-art form initiative aims to increase family engagement in the arts through public-facing activity such as the Festival and Family Arts Standards, and sector-facing training, resources and supporting Local Family Arts Networks. Mari took on more strategic responsibility and was promoted to Family Arts Campaign manager in 2014, managing the day-to-day delivery and finances of the Campaign. With an extension to the original period of the Campaign confirmed, Mari became co-director.
In 2015 she left the Campaign to launch BON Culture, a consulting firm devoted to helping the UK arts industry to secure and improve its artistic and commercial future. Mari led the firm’s marketing and communication, as well as development and delivery of a business plan for the National Campaign for the Arts (NCA). Since its rebrand in 2016, the NCA has successfully launched a new website and managed the inaugural Hearts for the Arts Awards, celebrating Local Authority support of the arts across the UK.
In 2017, BON Culture merged with TRG Arts to form an international consultancy focused on increasing the resilience of the arts sector worldwide. Mari continues her work with the National Campaign for the Arts and heads the annual conference for theatres.