SWAp'ra Board of trustees

Sarah Holford

Chair of the Board

Sophie Gilpin is a stage director working in both opera and theatre. She is Artistic Director of HeadFirst Productions and established A Festival of Sex, Love and Death in 2017; a multi-arts festival for which 54% of the creative teams were female.  She has directed productions for companies including Hampstead Garden Opera, Riverside Opera/Rose Theatre Kingston, Celebrate Voice, and Re:Sound Music Theatre/Oxford Lieder Festival, as well as working for Opera North, Opera up Close and Iford Arts.  Sophie is passionate about engendering more inclusive working practices where women in senior leadership positions are no longer the exception to the rule.

Sarah Noble

Board Member

Ella Marchment is an award-winning director and artistic director who has worked across Russia, Scandinavia and the EU on over 120 productions with companies and houses including The Mariinsky, Wexford Festival, Buxton International Festival, Bury Court Opera, The Royal Opera House, The International Opera Awards and Copenhagen Opera Festival. She has been hailed in reviews as ‘the leading artist of a generation’, and has also founded and led four International opera and theatre organisations (Helios Collective, Constella OperaBallet, Theatre N16, and the Danish Arts Fest). This year her directing credits include The International Opera Awards 2018 Ceremony, Magic Flute in Copenhagen, and Madigan at The Danish Arts Fest.

Annie Lydford

Board Member

Jessica Cottis maintains a busy guest conducting schedule worldwide, working with orchestras including the LSO, LA Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera House, Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and at the BBC Proms. An outspoken advocate of the importance of music in today’s society, Jessica is committed to helping create a more inclusive working environment within the opera industry, with particular interest in developing opportunities for the younger generation of conductors and composers.

Catherine Carby

Board Member

Anna Patalong (soprano) studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is laureate of the Francisco Vinas and Stanislaw Moniuszko competitions. She performs regularly in opera houses across the UK and Europe and is fast gaining a reputation across Europe for her "warm and smooth-toned soprano" (Telegraph). Anna initiated SWAP’ra in order to celebrate the achievements of women in our industry in 2018 and to discover creative ways in which areas may be improved for the future.


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