New Trustees Appointed

OperaUpClose are pleased to announce that Amanda Ariss OBE and Joe McFadden have joined their Board of Trustees. 

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 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.

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.

Artistic Director & Chief Executive, Robin Norton-Hale (@robinnortonhale), said ‘We are thrilled to have found two such outstanding individuals to join the team, who bring exceptional experience in the areas of diversity and digital technology, two key strategic areas for the company over the coming years, as we continue to push artistic boundaries on stage, explore innovative audience engagement practices and diversify audiences for opera across the UK.’ 

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jane Earl (@nogmum), echoed Robin saying ‘I am delighted that Amanda and Joe are joining the existing loyal Board members to add to the skills and insights of the Board as OperaUpClose moves into ever more exciting developments’. 

Amanda and Joe join OperaUpClose trustees Judy Dixey, Jane Earl, Jeff Gilbert, Dickon Gough and David Millington. For more information on OperaUpClose’s current team, please visit:

Is small beautiful? Learning from a micro-cultural enterprise.

The forum, held on the 13 October at the University of the Arts London (Chelsea College of Arts), brought together thinkers and managers from arts and cultural organisations, academia and business to explore business models in independent arts venues and performing arts organisations. This event is part of Creative Lenses, a four-year cross-European action research project which aims to strengthen and develop the business capacity and sustainability of European cultural and arts organisations.

In this video, Robin Norton-Hale discusses OperaUpClose's productions and how businesses can learn from micro-cultural enterprise.

OperaUpClose & The North Wall collaborate on ArtsLab

For three weeks this summer, OperaUpClose and The North Wall Arts Centre collaborated on ArtsLab. The project was led by musical director Mark Austin, composer Laura Bowler, director Robin Norton-Hale, designer Kate Lane, choreographer Joe Wild, and mezzo soprano Flora McIntosh. ArtsLab provides vocational experience for artists including actors, singers, dancers, instrumentalists, designers and technicians.

Photography by Kinga Lubowiecka

Assistant Conductor and violin: Claudia Fuller
Assistant Conductor and cello: Robin Wallington
Repetiteur and piano: Cadis Lee Ying Jie
Clarinet: David Mears
Mezzo: Leila Zanette
Baritone: James Quilligan
Bass: Simon Grange
Dancers: Claire Hackston, Tilda O’Grady, David Rodriguez, Olivia Thynne
Designers:   Ellie Jones &Cecilia Trono
Technician:  Mim Evison