Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Grange Festival announces key appointments

12:08, 22nd February 2016

The Grange Festival has announced a number of key appointments to its board of trustees and management team.

The board, which will be chaired by the Hon. Sir Charles Haddon-Cave, will comprise Classic FM managing editor Sam Jackson, gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh, former Tesco director of corporate affairs Rebecca Shelley and City lawyer Owen Jonathan. Investment banker Richard Morse will join in summer 2016.

Lord Ashburton and his son Mark Baring, owners of the Grange, will continue in the joint role of landlord and trustee.

Michael Moody, co-founder of the outgoing Grange Park Opera (GPO), has been appointed general manager. Rachel Pearson, another former GPO employee, has been appointed director of development.

Artistic director Michael Chance said:  ‘I am extremely fortunate to have two very talented people in Michael Moody and Rachel Pearson joining the management team, adding a wealth of practical experience working at the Grange as well as invaluable industry knowledge and contacts.

‘Together, we look forward to building on the 18-year operatic legacy at the Grange and bringing exciting new productions to our audiences.’

The Grange Festival was formed to continue the annual opera seasons at the Grange in Northington, Hampshire from 2017 onwards. Details of its inaugural season will be announced in autumn 2016.

The site is currently home to GPO, which will present its last season in Hampshire this summer before moving to West Horsley Place, Surrey (a 400-acre estate owned by Bamber Gascoigne).

GPO’s founder and chief executive Wasfi Kani is currently raising funds for an opera house for the new site. The Theatre in the Woods will seat more than 700 and will have an interior inspired by La Scala. The £10m appeal is backed by Bryn Terfel and Joanna Lumley (whose husband Stephen Barlow conducted at GPO over several seasons) and chaired by leading philanthropists and well-known arts patrons Sir David Davies and Dame Vivien Duffield.

As well as hosting GPO performances, the new theatre will promote performance activities including chamber music, dance and education projects. More than £3m had already been guaranteed in the lead-up to the official launch of the appeal in January, and it is anticipated that the new theatre will be operational by the summer of 2017, when a new production of Tosca will inaugurate the new venture.

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