Cotswold Arts:

Polly Gra­ham has plans for Long­bor­ough Opera

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - LONG­BOR­OUGH FES­TI­VAL OPERA Through­out June, July and Au­gust

Polly Gra­ham is the newly ap­pointed artis­tic di­rec­tor for Long­bor­ough Opera, the ex­tra­or­di­nary opera fes­ti­val her par­ents founded 26 years ago in their own North Cotswold gar­den. Polly has grown up watch­ing the fes­ti­val it­self grow: to­day it en­joys an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion that has seen it stage the en­tire Ring cy­cle twice.

In the mean­time, she’s been pretty busy her­self. After stud­ies at Trin­ity College Dublin and RADA, she earned her spurs as an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor at Welsh Na­tional Opera, and now works as a free­lance di­rec­tor.

While box-of­fice block­busters will keep on com­ing un­der Polly’s di­rec­tion, there might be a few sur­prises for Long­bor­ough, too. After all, this is an artis­tic di­rec­tor who went to Chip­ping Cam­p­den School; who laments the Cotswolds’ posh rep­u­ta­tion (“most peo­ple do not live that kind of life here”); and who gets her per­form­ers to warm up to Prince.

Polly, Long­bor­ough Opera first raised its cur­tains when you were a ten­der five-year-old. Let’s have some early mem­o­ries.

One of the main things I re­mem­ber is spend­ing all day fol­low­ing around the stage man­agers and other peo­ple get­ting the show ready; they must have found me in­cred­i­bly an­noy­ing… but they let me! I watched ev­ery sin­gle thing they did – from pulling ivy off our house to make a for­est scene, to set­ting out chairs – and found ev­ery sin­gle thing fas­ci­nat­ing. I was also al­lowed to stay up for the op­eras them­selves, and never found them bor­ing; even at five.

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