Meet the Team

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Lizzie Graham

Director

Lizzie started Longborough Festival Opera with her husband Martin and ran it for 24 years. In that time she helped the opera grow from an outdoor affair on hay bales into the 500-seat opera house of today. They have three children who have grown up with opera in their garden, the eldest of whom, Polly, is now an opera director based in Cardiff and Longborough's Artistic Director.

Lizzie retired at the end of the 2014 season, though is still actively involved in the artistic planning as well as strategic direction of the charity.

Alongside scouting new talent for Longborough, Lizzie fits in the odd stint of babysitting two grandchildren who have started on their own journey of opera appreciation.

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Anthony Negus

Music Director

“As always with Wagner at Longborough, the driving force is the veteran conductor Anthony Negus" - The Times

Over many years as Music Director at Longborough Festival Opera in the UK, Anthony Negus has established himself as a highly perceptive and sensitive conductor of Wagner, exemplified by the highly acclaimed Ring cycles in 2013, Tannhäuser (2016), Tristan und Isolde (2017), Der fliegende Holländer (2018), also The Magic Flute, and Ariadne auf Naxos. In 2017 The London Wagner Society presented him with the Reginald Goodall Award for his devotion to the works of Richard Wagner.

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Emily Gottlieb

Executive Director

Emily joined Longborough as Executive Director in April 2024. Prior to that she spent nine years as Chief Executive of the National Opera Studio, the UK’s foremost opera training organisation, working closely with the Studio’s partner companies: English National Opera, Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera. She spent 15 years with the Royal Opera House; first as Stage Manager, managing over 60 productions for the Royal Opera, then taking a leading role under CEO Alex Beard in the organisational development of the ROH. She was the first ever Consortium-supported Performing Arts Fellow on the prestigious Clore Leadership Programme in 2012-13. She has worked in leading opera companies around the world including Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Grange Park Opera and Opera Australia. Emily is a Founder Director of Opera UK, a Trustee of the Buxton International Festival, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts and a relational dynamics coach.

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Polly Graham

Artistic Director

Polly read English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and holds an MA in Text & Performance from RADA. She has delivered education projects for Glyndebourne, ENO and WNO. From 2012-14 she was Genesis Assistant Director at WNO, mentored by Sir David Pountney. She was the Independent Opera Directing Fellow in 2016 and was a nominee in Best Newcomer category at the 2017 International Opera Awards. Polly has directed Così fan tutte (Irish National Opera), the world premiere of Pierangelo Valtinoni's Il Piccolo Principe (La Scala, Milan); a triple bill including Freya Wayey Cohen's WITCH (RAM); Der Zauberflöte (RCM); Olga Neuwirth's Orlando (Vienna State Opera); The Gondoliers (RWCMD); The Emperor of Atlantis (Bold Tendencies), A Christmas Carol (Bolzano); Le Vin Herbé and Kommilitonen! (Welsh National Opera). Associate directing includes Mosè in Egitto (San Carlo, Naples) and La Chute de la MaisonUsher/ Usher House (San Francisco). For Longborough, Polly has directed The Fairy Queen and Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria.

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Remi Bruno Smith

Head of Artistic Administration | Company Manager

Remi started at Longborough as a freelance stage manager for the 2017 season, and later took on the role of Company Manager in 2019. He joined the team permanently in 2020 and is now the Head of Artistic Administration. Remi trained in stage management at Rose Bruford College, and began working in theatre in London and the South East, from the fringe to the West End. Highlights include Cyrano De Bergerac (2019, Playhouse Theatre), the Pinter at the Pinter season (2018, Harold Pinter Theatre) and presenting A Christmas Carol in the state apartments of Windsor Castle (2017).

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Gill Powell

Membership & Legacy Manager

A former BBC radio producer, Gill began her career as a researcher on Radio 4’s The Archers. She left Ambridge for St Kitts where, through VSO, she made schools radio programmes. Back in the UK, she was appointed Individual Giving Manager with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. She completed an MA Creative Writing (Non-Fiction) in 2016, and writes for The Oldie and The Guardian.

Gill juggles life at Longborough with working part-time at an independent book shop, being Treasurer of her local WI and volunteering with bereavement charity CRUSE. She shares the joy of country living in Herefordshire with John and various chickens.

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Fenner Curtis

Head of Marketing & Box Office

Fenner joined the team at Longborough in 2016. With a background in arts marketing, he previously worked across Cheltenham's four Festivals of Jazz, Science, Music and Literature.

He is also a keen musician, a violinist of hot jazz that can often be found performing throughout the Cotswolds and beyond with the ensemble Swing from Paris: a quartet of guitars, violin and double bass that specialise in the 1930s French jazz of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli.

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Andrea Walters

Finance Manager

Andrea joined Longborough as Finance Manager in Spring 2021. She has extensive experience working as a finance professional and is a member of the ACCA. Her first role in the charity sector was in 1999 when she joined Oxfam GB. Andrea has since worked with a variety of charities and not-for-profit organisations including Medical Detections Dogs and Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton. In the arts sector she spent seven years with Garsington Opera and was Finance Manager at Arts at the Old Fire Station in Oxford.

When not managing Longorough’s finances Andrea enjoys being out in the countryside and is a keen horse-rider.

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Sarah Brooks

Front of House & Operations

Sarah joined the team as Front of House Manager for the 2014 season. Since then, her role has developed to cover all aspects of front of house, logistics and operations as well as planning events outside of the season. Her previous experience of organising corporate and private events in London has given her much experience in all areas of hospitality. During the season, her priority is to ensure our audience enjoy the full Longborough experience.

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Jessica May

Education & Participation

Jessica is responsible for Longborough's Education and Outreach. Each year she creates an ever-expanding programme of utterly bonkers workshops, with the main objective of keeping opera alive and kicking in the minds of the next generation. Many local school students now think it is perfectly normal to have an opera house in their back garden. She studied music at Kings College, London and performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and her passion for accompanying has enabled her to work with some of the world’s leading performers as well as exciting up-and-coming talent in schools and conservatoires.

Ryan Funnell

Ryan Funnell

Production Manager

Ryan is a freelance Production Manager, working across the full spectrum of theatrical production, and started working with Longborough Festival Opera in 2023. He is a Theatre Consultant with Stage Right Theatre Consultants Ltd, and was previously Head of Technical & Facilities at Wilton’s Music Hall, London. He studied Design & Technical Theatre at Middlesex University.

Amber Styles

Amber Styles

Production Coordinator

Amber joined the Longborough team as Production Coordinator in 2022. Amber has worked as Production Manager, Coordinator and Assistant across a broad spectrum of productions in London’s West End and fringe theatres, Regional theatres, UK tours and in the States. Amber has a particular passion to support companies transitioning to a more Sustainable theatre approach.

Production credits include My One and Only, Bouncers, The Mystery of Charles Dickens with Ambassador Theatre Group, Jerry Springer - The Opera with Blue Box Entertainment, The Tale of the Pig, and The Tailor of Gloucester for Pericles Theatre Company and There’s A Tiger in the Garden for Flock Theatre Makers.

Aimée Bonner

Box Office Manager

Aimée joined the team at Longborough to operate as the Box Office Manager for the 2024 season. With a background in administration, hospitality and events, she is excited to be part of a team bringing opera to the local community. Having grown up in the Cotswolds playing classical music from a young age, she first visited Longborough back in 2015 for Rigoletto. Outside of work Aimée enjoys baking and teaching her young family members how to play piano.

Founder
Martin Graham

Chair
Andrew Mosely

Trustees
Annita Bennett
Denys Firth
Elizabeth Graham
Leo Graham
Joseph Green
Jonathan Hull
Alexandra Mackesy
Rosamund Horwood-Smart KC

Fundraising
Saskia Ross

Education & Participation
Emma Campbell

Office & Finance Assistant
Encarna Soper


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How to find us

The theatre is located on the outskirts of the village of Longborough in Gloucestershire, a few miles from Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh.

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Contact us

How to contact the Box Office and administrative staff.

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Our story

Find out more about Longborough Festival Opera.