Polly Graham has plans for Longborough Opera
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.