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Non-Executive Board Directors Scottish Opera

Are you passionate about the performing arts and their impact on creativity and learning? Do you want to join a Board who is enthusiastic about widening participation and engagement? Then do apply to join the Board of our dynamic and inspiring opera Company!

  • Location: Scotland
  • Salary: Unremunerated with reasonable expenses paid.

Scottish Opera was founded by Sir Alexander Gibson in 1962 and is Scotland’s national opera company and the largest performing arts organisation in Scotland.

In 1974 it purchased the Theatre Royal Glasgow and reopened in 1975 at Scotland’s first national opera house.

It is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and works in partnership with the Scottish Government to deliver high quality, innovative and creative performances and programmes to support Scotland’s cultural vision to inspire audiences and participants; widen participation; lead in the delivery of arts in education; and champion the positive benefits that opera brings to society.

 

Scottish Opera tours extensively across Scotland to deliver its vision through main scale performances; middle scale performances in urban centres and rural areas; smaller scale productions and activities in theatres, schools, community centres and village halls; orchestral and opera concerts within communities; and a comprehensive, nation-wide programme of education and outreach. The Company’s work caters for all audiences of all ages – ranging from babies to people living with dementia.

It has the most extensive touring programme of any opera company in Europe and is a much-valued contribution to Scotland’s cultural and artistic life, particularly in remote and island communities. In addition to performances in the largest-scale theatres and rural venues, the Company operates a miniature mobile opera house inside a converted scenery trailer bringing their ‘Pop-up Opera’ to thousands each year in a range of inspiring and unexpected locations.

It aims to be as inclusive and affordable through availability to free and cheap tickets, as well as providing access to audio, digital and shorter access performances. During 2019-2020 nearly 117,000 people experienced Scottish Opera as audience members or as participants, within all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

This year they celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their ground-breaking Outreach and Education programme bringing music and performance into the lives of people across the country. Around 120 schools and 9,000 pupils take part each year. They also nurture and support young singers, composers, costume designers, repetiteurs and directors through their Scottish Opera Emerging Artists programme and over 12 years has supported 33 singers and 55 young artists.

The Board

The Board meets four times a year and includes a strategy half day and an AGM.  Formal meetings are generally held on Friday afternoons, and these are booked at least a year in advance.

The Board operates with a Finance and General Purpose Committee which meets up to six times per year and an Audit Committee which meets at least once a year.

The term of office is four years, and the time commitment is around 10 days per year. Meetings take place in March, June, September and December. The time includes reading, preparation and participating at formal Board meetings, committees or project support, and attending events, performances and external meetings to represent Scottish Opera across Scotland.

Who we are looking for

The Board is the ultimate decision-making body and has overall responsibility for the general control, effective management of resources and governance of Scottish Opera.

We seek new Board members to join the Board of Directors in 2022 and we welcome interest from people who are collaborative, collegiate, passionate and enthusiastic about Scottish Opera’s mission, strategic, artistic and educational plans, and who have the capacity and willingness to give their time, share their experience and contribute effectively as a member of the non-executive team.

We are interested to receive applications from those with strategic experience of performing arts, finance, brand marketing and public relations, widening participation and engagement, however, we do not want to prevent those with other commercial and/or professional backgrounds from applying.

Scottish Opera is very keen to represent the highest standards of governance and to be more reflective our diverse communities, so we are actively looking to further enhance the diversity of our Board. We positively welcome and encourage applications from all candidates covering diversity of age, gender, ethnicity. We are interested in candidates for whom this may be their first board/non-executive role to bring fresh ideas and thinking to the board.

We can be flexible in our approach, so if you feel there are any barriers that may prevent you from considering to apply, please get in touch to let us know.

Closing date: Monday 6th December 2021

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Liz Holderness | liz@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07872 031079

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If you would like to know more about this role please contact Liz Holderness

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Thank you for your interest to join the Board of Directors at Scottish Opera.

Our search for new Board Directors is at a very exciting time for Scottish Opera as we return to our programme of activities including live indoor performances and welcoming audiences back to the Theatre Royal and a minimum of over 35 other venues and locations across Scotland.

Scottish Opera has a first-class reputation with exceptionally high artistic standards and our productions tour extensively across Scotland, as well as across the UK and internationally.  We are the largest performing arts organisation in Scotland, and we are committed to bringing opera to the widest possible audience through our exciting performances; inspiring education and outreach programmes, together with a range of innovative projects. We celebrate the diversity of our country, creating connections between audiences nationally and internationally and resolutely believe that everyone, wherever they are, deserve to have access to world-class opera.

We are grateful to the Scottish Government, for its continued support and its commitment to core funding and indebted to many other supporters – trusts, foundations, businesses and individual donors who continue to give their invaluable support to the Company each year to enable us to deliver high quality, innovative and creative performances and programmes to support Scotland’s cultural vision to inspire audiences and participants, widening engagement, lead in the delivery of arts in education, and champion the positive benefits that opera brings to society.

Over the past 18 months, Covid-19 has impacted us on delivering our full programme of activity during 2020-21, but lockdown highlighted the resilience of opera through adaptability, creativity, ingenuity and the curiosity and commitment of our audiences and we were able to create new ways to deliver our work and engage with audiences and artists.

Alongside a range of digital and smaller live outdoor projects, we also delivered a premiere of our first short opera and took our hugely popular Pop-up opera programme outdoors across Scotland.  We also continued investing and developing new talent through our Emerging Artists programme, as well as our extensive Outreach and Education work which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. Both of which remain at the heart of Scottish Opera’s vision to ignite and sustain interest in opera from all corners of society.

We are looking to recruit collaborative, collegiate, passionate and enthusiastic people who care about Scottish Opera’s mission, strategic, artistic and educational plans, and who wish to help build on our current strengths and further expand our creative ideas and our role in championing opera and the creative industries.

We are interested to receive applications from those with strategic experience of performing arts, finance, brand marketing and public relations, widening participation and engagement, however, we do not want to prevent those with other commercial and/or professional backgrounds from applying.

As a prominent national organisation with charitable status, we are committed to the Nolan seven principles of public life as well as equal opportunities.  We are keen to attract a diverse range of candidates to join the Board to better reflect our audience and communities, so we wish to encourage people regardless of age, background, experience or ethnicity.  Please do get in touch with our recruitment partners, Peridot Partners for further information and do let them know if you feel there are any potential barriers to applying.

As Chair of the Board, I am excited to welcome everyone back to our venues and programmes and we very much hope you share our ambition and passion and will apply to join our Board.

With many thanks

Peter Lawson

Chair of Scottish Opera

Scottish Opera is a company limited by Guarantee with charitable status. It has an income of just over £13m and our core funding is from The Scottish Government.

We are Scotland’s largest professional performing arts organisation, providing direct employment for just under 750 people in a year, including contract artists, musicians, artisans and other professionals while retaining a core staff of 153.

Leadership

Under the Articles of Association, our Board must have a minimum of 5 and no more than 21 Directors. There are currently 12 Directors which includes the Chair Peter Lawson, one Vice Chair and General Director (Chief Executive) Alex Reedijk. The Music Director is Stuart Stratford. Our Patron is HRH The Duchess of Gloucester GCVO and our President Lady Veronica Gibson.

Cultural Vision

We work in partnership with the Scottish Government to deliver high quality, innovative and creative input in support of, and at the heart of Scotland’s new cultural vision within a citizen led agenda:

  • Inspiring audiences and participants
  • Working effectively and creatively within our resources
  • Widening engagement
  • Continuing to lead in the delivery of arts in education
  • Championing the positive benefits that opera brings to society

Our key objectives are to:

  • Create opera of the highest standard, performed in theatres, community, schools and other venues across Scotland, reaching the broadest population base across all 32 local authorities.
  • Integrate all Scottish Opera’s activities to ensure unity of vision and delivery
  • Work in partnership with the Scottish Government and embrace Scotland’s new cultural vision
  • Form collaborations with other national arts organisations to create and promote a fully co-ordinated arts and education programme
  • Work in partnership with other organisations in the cultural community to advocate the important of the arts within Scotland and to maintain and build international partnerships to support Scotland’s reputation and ambitions abroad.

 

Pop-Up Opera performs 'Pirates of Penzance' for children at St Saviour's Primary school in Govan.

We deliver opera of the highest standard through:

  • Main scale performances in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and at Edinburgh International Festival
  • Middle scale performances in urban centres and rural areas throughout Scotland.
  • Smaller scale productions and activities in theatres, schools, community centres and village halls
  • Orchestral and opera concerts within the community
  • A comprehensive, nation-wide programme of education and outreach

Income and funding

In addition to the core funding from the Scottish Government, we receive income from philanthropic support, box office and local authority funding. A number of donors help deliver our operatic programmes and we are fortunate to have over 400 annual supporters and over 950 friends who give support to our artistic ambitions, creating new work and continuing our established programmes in communities across Scotland. We receive other gifts in cash and in-kind from businesses who support our work and enable us to introduce new audiences to opera.

Impact 2019-2020

In total 116,960 people experienced Scottish Opera in 2019/20 across all 32 local authorities. We had new commissions, European and UK premieres, five-star reviews, sell-out shows, collaborations, co-productions and an award-winning education programmes which saw the Company grow in stature, becoming more adventurous and gaining further trust from audiences. This included:

  • 56 mainstage opera performances in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Belfast, London and Adelaide including 11 performances of Opera Unwrapped or Dementia friendly performances.
  • 35 smaller scale Opera Highlights productions throughout Scotland
  • 4 Opera in Concert with The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a separate Orchestra-only concert
  • 75 performances in the pop-up trailer to over 1,850 people
  • 2,433 people saw opera for babies/toddlers – in Oman, Northampton and across Scotland
  • 40,177 participants in school workshops and performances
  • 1,123 participants in dementia projects
  • 151 people attended our Continuous Personal Development workshops

Our Performances

The Company’s performance repertoire ranges across five centuries, from the earliest operas to newly-commissioned world premieres, working in collaboration with the world’s finest singers and creatives, alongside The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and choruses. Recent accolades include a South Bank Sky Arts Award, a Scottish Award for New Music, Sunday Herald Culture Awards and a Herald Angel, as well as a 2020 RPS Award.

The Company tours extensively across Scotland, from the largest-scale theatres to the smallest of rural venues, to ensure we are within reach of as many of our country’s very dispersed population as possible. Our specially-adapted 40-foot scenery trailer brings ‘Pop-up Opera’ performances to thousands of people each year in a range of inspiring and unexpected community locations. This represents the most extensive touring programme of any opera company in Europe and is a much-valued contribution to Scotland’s cultural and artistic life, particularly in remote and island communities.

Scottish Opera Education and Emerging Artists

This year we celebrate our 50th Anniversary of our pioneering Outreach and Education Programme which was formed in 1971 under the leadership of our founder Sir Alexander Gibson. Its ethos is to break down barriers to the artform, connect communities and inspire people from all backgrounds through opera.

This programme includes an annual Primary Schools Tour giving the opportunity for primary-aged children to perform their own specially-commissioned pieces, alongside professional singers.

This work has engaged over half a million children in the arts with around 120 schools and 9,000 pupils taking part each year. We plan even more projects, bringing music and performance into the lives of people across the country.

 

This month we announced our Emerging Artists for our 2021-22 season and have welcomed a talented group of young artists to perform with us in live productions throughout the year, as well as work in-house with Scottish Opera staff and visiting coaches to develop their skills. Over 12 years this programme has supported 33 singers and 55 young artists overall including composers, costume designers, repetiteurs and directors.

Our Programmes

We have been resilient in our attempts to adapt to circumstances caused by Covid-19 and offered a range of on-screen productions, pop-up opera and outdoor productions travelling all over Scotland to continue to make opera accessible to all. During July and August we held an outdoor festival of live theatre, music and opera at our Production Studio car park in Glasgow over four weeks, joined by Citizens Theatre and Scottish Ensemble in a specially created outdoor theatre.

Our ongoing work with communities has continued throughout the pandemic and we increased our Breath Cycle Project originally created in 2013, to offer free singing and breathing tutorials to help people suffering from breathlessness after being treated for Covid-19.

After several months with no indoor performances we are now returning to live indoor performances following the success of our outdoor productions and digital interaction programmes throughout the Summer. We are incredibly proud and excited to have started bringing live music and events back to Scottish audiences of all ages, with new opportunities to evolve and develop to widen engagement and participation for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Our work caters for audiences of all ages – ranging from babies to people living with dementia. Other programmes include our Young Company, Opera for Schools, Community Choir, Outreach and Education and Emerging Artists.

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    Please download the Role Description and complete this Equality Monitoring Survey.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (maximum 2 sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Scottish Opera – Board Director” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Liz Holderness | liz@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07872 031079

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.

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    Timetable

    Closing date: Monday 6th December 2021

    First Stage Interviews: January 2022 TBC

    Second Stage Interviews: January 2022 TBC

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