Acclaimed opera director Polly Graham is to become Artistic Director of Longborough Festival Opera.

The 33-year-old daughter of Martin and Lizzie Graham says: “As a family we are so proud of Longborough and have long talked about its future. But it is only recently that I have felt ready to take on the challenge of leading it forward.”

The Longborough theatre was built on a dream in the garden of maverick impresario Martin Graham’s family home, and opened in 1997. From the beginning Lizzie Graham has been running the shows, and in 2014 appointed Jennifer Smith as General Manager.

Looking to the future, Martin and Lizzie will continue to be deeply involved in the festival, and it is with their blessing that Polly will steer it in a new direction. Lizzie Graham says: “We are delighted that Polly will be continuing the Longborough legacy. It seems the perfect way to build on what has been achieved here.”

Polly will take up her new role with immediate effect, combining it with her independent directing career. She aims to preserve the special atmosphere created by her parents. “Longborough has established itself as a mecca for Wagnerians, led by the esteemed conductor Anthony Negus. I intend to build on the spirit of the festival, which has been willfully daring and ambitious, by expanding repertoire and commissioning new work. My aim is to share great opera with as many people as possible.”


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