Jobs & Volunteering

Buxton International Festival is made of a small, passionate and dedicated team working all year round. We would love for you to join us to help inspire a new generation.

Associate Board Director

If you are an ambitious young Arts Professional under the age of 35 who would like an opportunity to learn how major opera and music companies operate from the inside….read on.

Buxton International Festival has been described in New York’s Metropolitan Opera House magazine as “one of Europe’s great little unmissable opera Festivals”; it also enjoys the reputation of being the least pretentious! In 2019 it celebrated its 40th anniversary, and won the UK theatre award for Opera with its first wholly new commission, a pasticcio on the life of Georgiana, the naughty Duchess of Devonshire.

BIF, as it’s known, attracts audiences from all over Britain and increasingly abroad.  It is four Festivals in one; opera, classical music, books and jazz. We present new productions of less often performed operas with international casts run a major literary Festival with c. 50 well known authors presenting their latest books; host a major music series with celebrated and often international chamber ensembles, soloists etc; and since 2022, a professionally curated jazz series attracting some of the best known names in modern jazz from the UK and further afield.

These delights are all packed into 17 or more days every July.  2023 opens with a glittering weekend of operas by Bellini, Mozart, Handel and a brand new work based on the Life of Vera Brittain called ‘Land of Might-Have-Been; plus violin virtuosa Nicola Benedetti and arguably the most famous Jazz trumpeter of his age, the legendary Wynton Marsalis.  The full programme is on the website.

BIF is registered as a charity but also a commercial company.  It is governed by a Board of nine directors, and our two young associate directors. All details can be found on the BIF web site. BIF is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation.


The Opportunity

Five years ago BIF appointed its first young Associate Director.  The board currently has two, each appointed for a two-year term in staggered appointments so that there is always one experienced Young Associate to mentor the incomer.  This position is treated in all respects as a full director of the company but is not registered as a full director or trustee and has no voting rights. The responsibility of running an Opera Festival carries a financial and reputational risk for all Directors. The Board of BIF does not think it fair to burden a younger, inexperienced colleague with that responsibility or the risk which goes with it.  We do, however, want a younger person’s perspective and the person appointed is treated in every other resect as a full Board member, invited to play a full and vocal part in proceedings and privy to all Board information.

The first Associate Director to be appointed was opera director, Mark Burns.  Mark trained at the Royal Northern College of Music.  He works regularly with the Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera North and many others.  He is regarded as one of the most talented young up-and-coming directors.  He is passionate about education and is artistic direct of Opera Box producing operas with small casts.

This is what he has to say:

‘Having spent two years as an Associate Board Director at the Festival I was been able to build an understanding of how high level arts management works. From the financials to marketing and development, all aspects of how the company operates are there to be explored and colleagues were always available to offer their expertise and advice to help guide my progress.  As I move forward with my career my time with the BIF Board will stand me in good stead when I look towards management roles. To have demonstrable experience of board level work at this stage in my career is something that money can’t buy and I’m forever grateful to the Festival for their investment in my future.’

BIF is now looking for a new Associate Director to join us from November 2023 and another to join from November 2024.  If you are interested, are under 35, and think you have the right ambitions and skills, we would love to hear from you.  Our present Associate Directors, Clara Marshall-Cawley and Nicholas Bond would be more than happy to talk to anyone who would like more insight into their experience as BIF Associate Directors. The Board Chairman, Felicity Goodey and the Chief Executive Michael Williams are also available to discuss the position if you are interested.

There are four Board meetings a year. One is held via Zoom, two in London, and one, a full day which also includes a half day review and look ahead with staff, volunteers, Friends and other stake holders, held in Buxton.   Board Directors receive no remuneration or expenses but Young Associate Directors are reimbursed for all expenses incurred.

To apply please send a brief CV and a covering letter telling us why you are interested to:

Lee Barnes, Administrator:

Details of the appointment process will be forwarded in due course.


Closing date 31 September 2023.