Artistic Director 

Robin Norton-Hale

Robin is a writer and director for opera and theatre and she founded OperaUpClose in 2009. Her directing credits for the company, all in her own new English translations, are Carmen (Soho Theatre & UK tour), La Traviata (Tricycle Theatre, Soho Theatre & UK tour), La Bohème (Soho Theatre, Charing Cross Theatre, Cock Tavern Theatre & UK tour), Don Giovanni (Soho Theatre & UK tour) and The Barber of Seville (King’s Head Theatre & UK tour). She also wrote the English libretto for OperaUpClose’s The Marriage of Figaro and directed the UK premiere of Young Wife for the company. Other opera directing credits include a double bill of her own new version of Let's Make an Opera and Britten's The Little Sweep (Malmö Opera), La Traviata (Malmö Opera, Swedish tour) and Ariodante (rev. director English Touring Opera). Theatre directing includes Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off(King’s Head Theatre), the world premiere of Glyn Maxwell’s Masters, Are You Mad? (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew (Southwark Playhouse), Glyn Maxwell's Best Man Speech (UK tour) and Pick ‘n’ Myths (devised for Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and UK tour). Prior to directing, Robin read English Literature at Hertford College, Oxford University and trained as a journalist before working in press and marketing for English Touring Opera. She is a 2013/14 Clore Leadership Fellow and is a former trustee of Farnham Maltings and Bloomsbury Festival.

Associate Director

Valentina Ceschi

Valentina is a performer, director and theatre maker who trained at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris. She is co-artistic director of award winning theatre company Dancing Brick with whom she has toured nationally and internationally. Valentina is founder and co-creator of design-led performance group Brave New Worlds (selected for the Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design and Space 2015 and recently exhibiting at 'Make Believe' at the V&A). For OperaUpClose Valentina has directed The Elixir of Love by Donizetti (in a new english version by Thomas Eccleshare) and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. This year Valentina was thrilled to direct Ulla's Odyssey, an opera for families, winner of the Flourish competition 2014, which premiered at Kings Place, London.

Producer

Amy Novadnieks

Amy joined OperaUpClose as an Assistant Producer on The Marriage of Figaro at The King's Head Theatre in August 2014. Whilst at University, she produced and directed theatre productions and academically specialised in creative industries management and participation. In 2012 Amy founded Arts on the Move Festival at Poltimore House, a summer arts event showcasing local Devon talent. Amy managed the 70 performing artists who entertained 500 audience members. This festival is now thriving in its fifth year.

Development Manager

Indyana Schneider

Indyana was president of TEDxOxford, a sell-out speaker conference at Oxford’s New Theatre. She also produced the touring production of ‘Carmen in a Pub’ in collaboration with Sleepless Theatre Company, which formed part of her research into opera’s modern reputation and involved raising money for Alzheimer’s and cancer charities. Indyana is a trained opera singer and studied music at Oxford University where she focused on opera’s accessibility and reception in the twenty-first century. There, she was involved in a number of productions in diverse roles of performer, composer, vocal coach, and producer. Indyana is thrilled to be continuing her work in innovative accessible opera working with OperaUpClose.

Programming and Marketing Officer

Ellie Keel

Ellie graduated from Oxford University in 2014 with a First Class Honours degree in German and Italian. After graduating, she was engaged for two years by the Cameron Mackintosh Foundation as the University Drama Officer at Oxford, where she co-ordinated a thriving student theatre scene. She is the Producer at Forward Arena Theatre Company, producing high-quality new writing at Theatre 503, Pleasance, the Arcola and elsewhere. She has also worked at the Finborough Theatre with ElmTree Productions Ltd and as an Associate Producer for a number of other organisations, including producing the premiere of a new translation of Fatzer: Downfall of an Egoist for the International Brecht Society in 2016. In addition to her role at OperaUpClose, Ellie is the Producer for New Writing and Education at the North Wall Arts Centre, and is a Trustee for the King's Hall Trust for the Arts. She trained as a theatre producer with Stage One.

Position generously supported by The John Ellerman Foundation. 

Administrator

Helen McKeown

Helen graduated from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in June 2016, where she read Music. A keen clarinettist, as an undergraduate she performed with the University's top orchestras and in the band for several operas. While at Cambridge, Helen also enjoyed managing concerts and musical events, including the University's Lunchtime Concert Series in 2015-16, and a symphony orchestra tour to Cologne. After graduating Helen worked for Cambridge University Musical Society for one year as Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator and Assistant Orchestra Manager, where she helped to deliver a series of large-scale orchestral concerts with professional conductors and soloists.

Trainee Producer

Tom Stuchfield

Tom graduated from Cambridge University in 2015, and completed a year’s training as a playwright at the University of Edinburgh. He has written and directed multiple productions, including two ‘Best Play’ award-winners at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014 and 2016, and continues to produce his own work in fringe venues around London, including Theatre503 and the OSO.  He is the most-performed student playwright in Cambridge University’s history, and is beginning his professional training as a producer with OperaUpClose.


Board of Trustees

Jane Earl (Chair)

In April 2016, Jane stepped down as Chief Executive of Rich Mix, East London’s independent arts venue, a role she had held since 2010. She is currently Non-Executive Chair of  Spektrix, an arts technology and ticketing company and a Non-Executive Director of Telford Homes Plc. From 1999 to 2003 she was the Chief Executive of Wokingham Unitary Council. In 2003, Jane joined the Civil Service to become the first Director of the Assets Recovery Agency. Previous roles included a two year spell as London Regional Director for Business in the Community. She  is also a member of boards of a number of arts charities and faith organisations, including Greenspring Education Trust and Fantasy High Street.

David Millington (Vice Chair)

David Millington is an ombudsman with the Financial Ombudsman Service. After a first career with Midland (now HSBC) Bank, where he spent 4 years as an offshore banker in Jersey, two years as Head of Customer Relations, and three years as manager of a major county town branch, he joined the Banking Ombudsman Scheme in 1998. On the creation of the unified Financial Ombudsman Service in 2001, David became a member of the first panel of ombudsmen - he's now a lead ombudsman, focusing on the strategic development of the service. David's non-executive experience includes six years with the Pensions Advisory Service (including a spell as chair of the Audit & Risk committee), and as a member and chair of several advisory committees of the Institute of Financial Services. He's always been interested in music, particularly making it. Since those early years as a boy chorister he has sung with a number of choirs, including the English Chamber Choir, and spent almost ten years as director of music at his local church.

Amanda Ariss OBE

Amanda Ariss is the former Executive Director of Creative Diversity Network, leaving the organisation in October 2016 to pursue a freelance career. Amanda joined the CDN from the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) where she had been Chief Executive since 2008. She is a recognised national executive leader in equality and human rights in the UK, and among other achievements she helped to secure the 2010 Equality Act. She has previously been Head of Research at the Equal Opportunities Commission, Associate Director at the Audit Commission, and has held various policy roles in London Boroughs and Greater London Councils. Amanda received an OBE in recognition of her services to equality and human rights, in the New Year’s Honours List 2016.

Judy Dixey

Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Peat Marwick (now KPMG), Judy moved into the arts and has not looked back. Her arts management career has spanned a range of organisations from the Royal Opera House to the Watermill Theatre, from Bournemouth International Festival to Platforms 2 and 3 (the contemporary music festivals masterminded by Joanna MacGregor), from Eastern Arts Association to VocalEyes (the arts charity making the arts accessible to blind and partially sighted people). She says inspirational fundraising, financial nous and a love of the arts are the drivers of success for all arts organisations and she sees bucket-loads of all three among the OperaUpClose Trustee and Executive teams and supporters.

Dickon Gough (currently on sabbatical)

Dickon is a professional opera singer, with an experienced, working knowledge of OperaUpClose, having sung roles with the company since 2010. Previous roles with OperaUpClose include Colline in the Olivier Award winning La Bohème, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love & Dr Bartelby in The Barber of Seville (...or Salisbury). Dickon has also performed for various other companies across the UK, including the Royal Opera House, Opera North, Opera della Luna and Opera Holland Park and will be returning to Opera North later this year before performing in a new opera at the Hackney Empire. Aside from his singing career, Dickon has been a published travel writer, a rally driver for The Adventurists, a builder, a barman and a harmonica player. Dickon is a fourth generation performer and trained at LIPA and Birkbeck University. 

Joe McFadden

Joe McFadden is the Chief Technology Officer of the Royal Opera House. He is responsible for setting the strategic direction to maintain and strengthen ROH's sector leadership in technology and digital activity. Recent projects include delivering a new Digital Learning platform to support and extend ROH's learning programme. Before joining ROH, Joe was IT Director at the National Theatre for eight years, and has also held strategic IT roles at the Institute of Cancer Research and The Stage newspaper.

Flora McIntosh

Born in London and trained at the RNCM, mezzo soprano Flora McIntosh has already attracted attention and praise for her 'wonderfully rich and even' voice as well as her committed and 'thrillingly convincing' acting.

Recent operatic engagements include Romeo in I Capuleti e I Montecchi for Pop-Up Opera and Carmen for OperaUpClose in London's West End, both of which received significant critical acclaim. In 2016 she created the role of The Goddess of the Sea in a new opera for children Ulla's Odyssey and made her Wagnerian debut covering Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde for Longborough Festival Opera 2017.

Other notable engagements include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Suzuki in Madame Butterfly (Regents Opera), Flora in La Traviata (Soho/Tricycle Theatre), Judith in Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (RNCM), The Drummer in The Emperor of Atlantis (Halle and Imperial War Museum), 3rd Lady in The Magic Flute (ETO), Myrtale in Thaïs (Grange Park Opera), and Fanny Nelson/Emma Hamilton in the world premiere of Bawden’s A Sailor’s Tale which was later recorded for NMC. Flora spent two seasons at the Batignano Festival in Italy and sang La chatte/L'ecureuil in L’enfant et les sortilèges with the European Opera Centre in Greece and Cyprus. She has been a soloist several times for the Southbank Sinfonia and Parliament Choir, sung the Angel and Queen in Elijah alongside Sir Thomas Allen and given recitals around the UK, most recently at the Garrick Club in London.

During her training at the RNCM Flora was the winner of the Anne Ziegler Award and Ricordi Prize for Opera and received generous support from the Peter Moores Foundation and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. She has participated in masterclasses with, amongst others, Della Jones, Jane Eaglen and Malcolm Martineau. Flora is a Samling Foundation scholar and currently studies with Arwel Treharne Morgan.

Current and future plans include Das Lied Von der Erde with English National Ballet in London and on tour, Wellgunde (cover) for the Wagner Society, Mozart's Requiem for the 2018 Stratford on Avon Festival and the title role in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda.