Chief Executive Officer
Michael started his opera career working as an Assistant Director for New Sadler’s Wells Opera in London, touring productions throughout the UK. He returned to South Africa and worked for Cape Town Opera for the next twenty years as head of Outreach, opera director, General Manager and finally as Managing Director. He is the author of several novels, plays, musicals and opera libretti. He moved to Buxton in 2018 with his wife, Ettie, and loves walking in the High Peak.
Following his studies at the University of Cambridge, English conductor Adrian Kelly became a member of the Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and was then a coach at the Hamburg State Opera. From 2010 to 2017 he was first Kapellmeister at the Salzburg State Theatre, working regularly with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg. In June 2018, he was appointed Artistic Director of Buxton International Festival. As part of his first season he conducted a new production of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
Iwan Davies trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio in London. He was a staff conductor at the Salzburger Landestheater, where he conducted repertoire ranging from Rossini to Philip Glass. Other recent work includes conducting La bohème and The Golden Cockerel (Rimsky-Korsakov) for English Touring Opera, and a recording of Gareth Glyn’s Un Nos Ola Leuad with the orchestra of Welsh National Opera. At Buxton he conducted Donizetti’s Viva La Diva and was Music Director for Viardot’s Cendrillon.
Book Festival Director
Vicky has worked in bookshops from the south coast to Moray in the North-East of Scotland. She was a store manager for both the Waterstones and Ottakar’s book chains and was a partner in two independent bookshops until 2018 when she relocated to Derbyshire. Utterly committed to spreading the joy of the written word, Vicky now runs an online second hand bookshop specialising in art, architecture and history alongside her role as Book Festival Director at BIF.
Neil has programmed jazz for over twenty years, first with his own business The Cinnamon Club in Altrincham, and then for four years at Southport Jazz Festival. Neil is a writer with his first novel published in 2022 under his pen name Sam Emony, and he is currently working on a TV Drama. A wild swimmer, skier, snowboarder and walker, you will find Neil in the Lancashire hills most days. He is enjoying discovering the hills and rivers around the Peak District.
Jacky began fundraising for the Festival in early 2023 following a 25 -year career as a fundraiser for various national and international charities based in Washington, DC. Her work has included raising funds for a Washington-area arts organization which fed her passion for music and literature. Jacky returned to the UK in 2022 to be closer to her family and is enjoying exploring the Peak District with local birdwatching groups as well as hiking with friends and family.
Lucy is a professional fundraiser has been working for charities for over 14 years. She works for BIF, The Thomas Theyer Foundation and is a Director of Buxton Civic Association. With 2 border collies and when not at work, she can be found usually out on the moors, or walking in Buxton’s woodlands.
Harriet has been a friend and advocate of the Festival for many years. She comes from a journalistic background and moved to Buxton in 2011 when parts of the BBC relocated to Salford. Aside from journalism, she has experience in communications in the travel and tourism industry. Having been brought up in the countryside she feels very much at home in the Peak District. In her spare time she enjoys swimming and exploring the stunning scenery on her doorstep by foot and bike.
Digital Communications and Marketing Officer
Jen joined the Festival in October 2022 and has been working in digital marketing for over 13 years. Following studying Tourism Management and graduating in 2012, Jen co-founded Explore Buxton in 2013. After living in Nottingham for 12 years, she enjoys taking in the fresh air of the Peak District and living back in her home town. In her spare time, Jen enjoys live music, travelling and volunteering at the local cat sanctuary.
Helen trained as a dramaturg at Bretton Hall, is a qualified Drama teacher and has an MA from Rose Bruford College in Ensemble Theatre. She brings significant experience as an independent producer in both theatre and dance, alongside work within sector and talent development. She also works as Talent Development Associate for Manchester Jazz Festival. She lives in Buxton with her family and is Co-Chair of Burbage Primary School Governing Board.
Lee is the Administrator of Buxton International Festival. Lee has also served as a Trustee of the Friends of Buxton Festival Board and continues to work closely with our Friends group and knows many of our members personally. When time allows Lee enjoys travelling and seeing other opera productions in the UK and further afield.
Janette is from Liverpool and moved to Buxton in 2022. With a professional background for several years in finance and online retail, she started working at the Festival in October 2022 as Finance Manager. When Janette is not in the office, she enjoys going for walks in the Peak District with her Yorkie-poo, listening to jazz and reading crime novels. Janette grew up listening to the Beatles but also enjoys a good night in watching the Eurovision.
The BIF Board
Felicity Goodey CBE DL
Felicity Goodey led the team which created Mediacity:uk, the project which has relocated much of the BBC from London to the North of England ,to create a globally significant media hub. Her career began as a journalist with the BBC becoming a senior correspondent specialising in industry and politics. She went on to develop a business career before leading a major Lottery project which built and established ‘The Lowry’, the £127 million-pound international theatre and arts complex Salford Quays. She gave up broadcasting to help found the Northwest Regional Development Agency and was asked by Salford City Council to set up and lead the UKs largest Urban Regeneration Company, Central Salford, securing more than £2.5 billion of private sector investment in just 5 years. She was awarded the CBE for services to regeneration and the arts.
Emily has been Chief Executive of the National Opera Studio since 2015. Prior to this, she spent 15 years with the Royal Opera House. She was the first Consortium-supported Performing Arts Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme in 2012-13. She has worked in leading opera companies around the world, as stage designer, company manager or stage manager, including Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Victoria State Opera, European Union Opera and Grange Park Opera. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts and a relational dynamics coach.
Julian Glover OBE
Julian is Associate Editor of the London Evening Standard. He is a writer, journalist and author of the bestselling biography Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain. Julian has worked as leader writer and columnist at the Guardian and as a Special Adviser in Number 10 and the Department for Transport. He chaired the Landscapes Reviews for the Government into the future of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Beauty in England.
Michael J Harper
Michael Harper is an internationally renowned countertenor. He has sung opera and concerts throughout Europe, the USA and China. He teaches and gives master classes across Europe and the US and has recently accepted a position as Principal study tutor in the school of vocal studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. He is a Patron of the National Opera Studio’s Diverse voices programme, works with choirs across Britain and teaches at his studios in London, Oslo and Bristol.
Stuart has a long-standing interest and involvement in the arts and education. He was a founder trustee of the Hampstead & Highgate Festival and is Chair of Governors of two schools in the London Borough of Barnet. A chartered accountant by profession, he had a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry before retiring to pursue an eclectic range of interests, including opera, classical music, theatre, sport, walking and all aspects of Italian life and culture. He has been a regular visitor to Buxton since the first festival in 1979.
Annie is the Chief Executive of at Academy of St Martin in the Fields. She joined the Academy from Nevill Holt Opera, where she was Managing Director for three years.. She is the former Director of Marketing and Communications for the Creative Industries Federation and Head of Communications at English National Opera having previously worked at Warner Bros. Records. She is a trustee of SWAP’ra, the organisation supporting women and parents in opera. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at Cambridge University, and has since completed an MBA with the Open University. As an organist, Annie has performed internationally and on BBC Radio 3.
Louise Potter DL
Louise Potter is a prominent Buxton hotelier and businesswoman and has devoted much of her energy to supporting and promoting the Buxton International Festival. She has also advanced Buxton as a major tourist destination. Louise is Treasurer of the Kinder Choirs Trust and a Patron of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire. In 2021, Louise is the High Sheriff of Derbyshire.
Diane is Chief Executive of London-based talent agency Northbank Talent Management, managing the careers of authors, broadcasters, speakers and influencers. She founded the agency in 2018 following a 20-year career as a book publisher and then literary agent. Diane has extensive arts fundraising and policy experience, having held board or advisory positions with the Conservative Arts & Creative Industries Network, which exists to facilitate dialogue between creative industries practitioners and government; the Finborough Theatre, The Brixton House Theatre, the Eden Valley Museum and two Westminster think tanks, Bright Blue and The Entrepreneurs’ Network.
Richard has a background as a Consulting Engineer, successfully running a firm of 120 people. He represented his profession both as a senior officer for some 25 years and visiting internationally in this role. Richard is a retired charity trustee of seven charities which kept him busy for more than 30 years. Richard has a passion for classical music, literature and jazz and attends many events at BIF every year. He also proudly holds a Level 3 qualification in Food Handling, Catering and Hospitality.
Mark is from Sheffield and works in London. He is a career civil servant leading on major project management in the Cabinet Office. Outside of work he enjoys travel, reading, visiting museums and galleries, and attending opera and concerts at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, BBC Proms and Wigmore Hall, occasionally writing reviews for the website classicaldiary.com. He is also a member of the BBC Trust’s Yorkshire Audience Council.
Careane Wallace LLB ACA
Chair of Audit & Risk Committee
Careane is an accountant with extensive audit experience. She runs two successful practises serving small to medium sized clients in London, both of which she started, and one of which has more than 187 clients from the arts world Services include consultancy, accountancy and tax planning. She has a number of years’ experience auditing various charities with turnovers well in excess of £1.5 million together with sizable listed companies. She is a chartered accountant and has a law degree.
Associate Board Member
Nick is a theatre and opera director based in London, who recently completed an MA in Theatre Directing at Mountview, having studied Music and Drama at the University of Manchester for his undergraduate degree. He has directed for Hen and Chickens Theatre, Arden School of Theatre, Mountview, and he first worked with Buxton International Festival when he directed ‘The Enchanted Pig’ for the 2021 season. It marked the festival’s first production to be created and performed entirely by young artists and kickstarted the ‘Platform 3’ outreach programme.
Clara Marshall Cawley
Associate Board Member
Assistant Orchestras and Ensembles Manager at the RNCM, Clara has gained significant experience working in arts administration since graduating from the University of Manchester with a degree in Music in 2018. Previous experience includes working with the Chorus of Opera North and the Learning Department of the Liverpool Philharmonic. While still a student she founded ‘Musica’, a week-long festival celebrating female music making which continues annually with increasing success. In her spare time Clara sings with the Halle Choir and enjoys running, cycling and hill walking.
Associate Board Member
Rebecca is a recent graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music and has worked as a freelance singer and conductor for several years. Rebecca is also a Project Manager for the National Youth Choir and since 2018, she has been a proud ‘Boobette’ Ambassador for breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel!
Associate Board Member
Having graduated from the Royal College of Music (RCM), Bradley recently worked with the English Touring Opera as Head of Learning & Participation. For several years he worked in major opera and operetta roles which he thoroughly enjoyed and his passion for opera continues.