We were saddened to hear of the death of Penny Thomson, regular List contributor, film producer and former director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).
Born in Manila, Penny led a peripatic childhood around the Far East, thanks to her father’s work with Shell, and often reminisced about travelling to school by boat while living in Singapore.
Having worked as a production assistant for the fledgling 7:84 theatre company, Penny’s career in film started in the late 1960s when she took up the post of films officer at the EIFF. She served as director of the Scottish Film Production Fund before rejoining the EIFF as director from 1992-94. She is widely credited with turning around the Festival at a particularly difficult time in its history, with three memorable programmes that included Strictly Ballroom and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Penny recently celebrated 29 years of marriage to her husband, musician, sculptor and ‘makar’ Allan Ross, with whom she worked on projects such as building the Viking ship for the Edinburgh New Year torchlight procession.
Latterly she served as an energetic chair of the Boilerhouse Theatre Company, and, up to a few months before her death, was a sharp-eyed, knowledgeable and opinionated reviewer and assistant editor on The List’s annual Eating and Drinking Guide.
Penny will be sorely missed by her friends and colleagues at The List. We would like to pass on our condolences to Allan and her mother and sister.