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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Polly Graham

Artistic Director

Polly read English at Trinity College, Dublin, before completing a MA in Text and Performance at RADA.

Directing credits include the world premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando (Vienna State Opera), The Gondoliers (RWCMD), the world premiere of Dani Howard’s Robin Hood (The Opera Story); The Emperor of Atlantis (Loud Crowd at Bold Tendencies), Dido and Aeneas (Blackheath Halls), Le Vin Herbé (WNO and Theater St Gallen), A Christmas Carol (Orchestra Haydn Opera 20.21), Simplicius Simplicissimus (Independent Opera), Kommilitonen! (Welsh National Youth Opera); Unheard Voices: CREW (WNO), Nighthawks (Yellow Earth Theatre). Forthcoming projects include Il ritorno d’Ulisse (Longborough Festival Opera) and the world premiere of Orlando Gough’s Bloom Britannia (Barefoot Opera).

Her productions have twice won Best Opera at the Welsh Theatre Awards.

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Jennifer Smith

Executive Director

Jennifer joined Longborough in April 2014, taking on the role from Lizzie Graham. Previously Head of Operations at the Plunkett Foundation, Jen developed and managed a range of projects including a multi-partner £10 million Lottery-funded programme. Jen’s background includes project management, financial management, development, and strategic planning. While Jen has worked in both the charitable and private sectors, her heart has always belonged to the arts. She has degrees in music and business and a master in arts administration.

As a classically trained soprano, Jen loves nothing more than being immersed in music. She has performed with local orchestras and music societies across Oxfordshire.

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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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Alexandra O’Donnell

Fundraising Manager

Alexandra joined Longborough in July 2021 after setting up the Development Office at Chipping Campden School and launching a successful capital campaign to build a Performing Arts Centre. This role gave Alexandra an interest and understanding of the importance of the performing arts for young people and communities.

Alexandra previously spent many years working in sales and marketing for luxury publishing house, Condé Nast, working on titles such as Tatler and Condé Nast Traveller, has two teenagers, accomplished the couch to 5k during lockdown and is still running. Slowly.

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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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Lauren Brice

Box Office Manager

Lauren initially joined Longborough in 2016, working as their Artistic Administrator for several years, and then returning in November 2021 as Box Office Manager. She has previously worked as a freelance marketer, Marketing Executive at Cheltenham Festivals and Marketing Manager of the Three Choirs Festival, among other roles.

A relentless baker and eater of cake, one of her most important roles is maintaining a supply of sugary treats to the office. She sings soprano with Gloucester Choral Society and regularly makes a fool of herself as a member of a Scottish reeling club. She enjoys walking and foraging, creating things with her sewing machine, and is very proud of her allotment.

Emma Bw

Emma Silcock

Box Office

Having lived in Longborough for a few years with her young family, Emma first became involved with the Opera because of a misdialed phone call from an opera singer needing accommodation, attending her first opera as a thank you for accommodation 5 years ago. When not taking your ticket bookings she can be found ferrying her teenagers around the Cotswolds or hot air ballooning.

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Remi Bruno Smith

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 as Artistic Administrator in 2020. Remi trained in stage management at Rose Bruford College, then working in theatre in London and the South East, from the fringe into 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).

Working remotely from London for much of the year, Remi shares his desk and home office with Thomas, his ginger tom cat.

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Jessica May

Education

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.


Founders
Martin & Lizzie Graham

Chairman
Martin Graham

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

Director
Lizzie Graham

Music Director
Anthony Negus

Artistic Director
Polly Graham

Executive Director
Jennifer Smith

Associate Artists
Carmen Jakobi
Jonathan Lyness
Jenny Miller
Alan Privett
Jeremy Silver
Richard Studer

Membership & Legacy Manager
Gill Powell

Fundraising Manager
Alexandra O’Donnell

Head of Marketing & Box Office
Fenner Curtis

Box Office Manager
Lauren Brice

Box Office
Emma Silcock

Artistic Administration | Company Manager
Remi Bruno Smith

Education
Jessica May

Finance
Andrea Walters

Box Office and Administration

Longborough Festival Opera
New Banks Fee
Longborough
Moreton-in-Marsh
Gloucestershire, GL56 0QF.

Telephone: 01451 830292
Email: boxoffice@lfo.org.uk

Box Office opening hours: 10am - 4pm,
Monday to Thursday.