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New Trustees appointed to Board

Three new Trustees have joined the Board of Opera North, bringing to the Company’s governance significant experience across finance, arts and entertainment, and corporate law at a critical time for the arts industry.

Rachel Elwell is a qualified actuary and is the CEO of the Leeds based asset management company, Border to Coast Pension Partnership Ltd.  Rachel is currently a Board member of the Investment Association and has previously worked for PwC and Royal London.  Rachel lives in Hebden Bridge and has been a regular attender at Opera North for many years.

Sarah Hall qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Touche Ross (now Deloitte) in Leeds, worked in audit there and subsequently with KPMG in Hong Kong before becoming a financial analyst with HSBC Securities. She had leadership roles in international stockbroking and has CEO experience of the media services industry. She was MD of Dewynters Ltd, the leading live entertainment marketing agency, and in 2018 served as the Interim Executive Director of the Young Vic Theatre. She has significant experience as a Trustee in the Charity/Arts sector and lives in Retford.

Dominic Wallis has a background as a corporate lawyer and investment banker and 26 years of advisory work in Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Finance. Since 2014, he has been MD of Stephens Europe Ltd, Investment Bankers. His charitable activities embrace arts and education – he is a Trustee of the Saffron Hall Trust and of Uppingham School, where he is a Trustee, Chair of the Foundation Board and Chair of the Audit Committee. For a time, he was on the Development Board of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He lives in Cambridge.

Opera North's Writing Home Sessions with Encore Partner, the Refugee Council. Image by Tom Arber.

Opera North is among the largest arts organisations based outside of London, with a diverse portfolio of artistic activity including full scale touring opera, a year-round programme of gigs, films, talks and family events in the Howard Assembly Room, and an orchestral concert season, in addition to wide ranging education and community partnership programmes. The Company is extremely proud to be the first opera company designated as a Theatre of Sanctuary and is also a leader in sustainability within the arts industry.

Following the £18 million capital Music Works redevelopment project to transform the Company’s base in Leeds, which reopened in Autumn 2021, Opera North’s artistic, education and community work continues to develop in scope, ambition and diversity.

A Little ONes session in the new Bramall Education Studio © Tom Arber

The Board of Opera North currently comprises twelve Trustees, of whom five are women, led by Chair Paul Lee OBE supported by Vice Chairs Renee Hunt and Rosie Millard OBE. Trustees may serve for up to ten years and this recent recruitment is part of regular succession planning. The Board is committed to diversifying its membership and is actively seeking new Trustees to reflect the communities served by Opera North, combined with varied expertise and lived experience to support the eclectic work of the Company.

Richard Mantle, General Director/CEO, Opera North, comments:

“We are delighted to welcome Rachel, Sarah and Dominic to the Board of Trustees at Opera North. Each brings a huge and distinctive degree of lively interest, experience, talent, and professional knowledge to the Board at a crucial moment, as the Company returns to a full programme of activity in our transformed estate, whilst also navigating the continuing operational and financial impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on us and the wider arts industry.”

Paul Lee, Chair, Opera North, comments:

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Rachel, Sarah and Dominic to the Board of Trustees, which plays a vital part in the Company’s life and governance. I am certain that they will bring new strategic insight and expertise across a wide range of areas to Opera North, and I look forward to working with them over the coming years.”


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