Buxton Opera House chief looks to the future

Simon Glinn, chief executive of Buxton Opera House.
Simon Glinn, chief executive of Buxton Opera House.
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Even before this year’s Buxton festival has finished, thoughts in some quarters have already turned to how the town capitalises on the huge boost the event provides.

Foremost among these people is Simon Glinn, chief executive of Buxton Opera House, who took up his new role last September.

Simon comes to Buxton from the Liverpool Philharmonic where he was executive director, and he is keen to build on the huge success of the town’s flagship event.

Simon said: “We really see the festival as the jewel in the crown of a year-round programme.

“Many of the people who attend our productions come here 15 or 20 times a year and we sold tickets in 191 different postcodes last year.

“In addition to this, the level of community involvement from our volunteers is phenomenal.”

Simon freely admits that he came into an organisation that “needed sorting out” - but insists the venue’s past issues are now firmly behind it.

The Opera House’s immediate future can be seen in the theatre’s recently-announced autumn season of events.

The programme includes comedy from Alan Carr and Justin Moorhouse, drama in the form of Jeeves and Wooster and Agatha Christie, and music from Leo Sayer and Christy Moore.

But Simon also wants the venue to become a place which regularly hosts quality classical music and this November sees just such an event.

The Liverpool Philharmonic will perform a three-day residency in November, the centrepiece of which will be a concert directed by acclaimed violinist and conductor Julian Rachlin on Friday November 27.

The residency will also include a world premiere of a new work by Nigel Osborne, written to commemorate the Srebrenica massacre, which will take place on Tuesday November 3.

And in addition to his passion for classical music, Simon says he also wants to build on the reputation Buxton already has as a Mecca for folk music fans.

“We are really keen to make the folk festival a permanent feature and make it a real destination event,” he explained.

In terms of next year’s festival, he says they hope to ‘go up a level again’ and that the relationship the venue has with it is a big part of what makes the Opera House so successful.

“Running an arts venue in such a remote location is always going to be challenging,” he added. “In many ways it shouldn’t be sustainable - but it just about works.”

n For more information about the Buxton Opera House, visit www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk