Meet WNO

Christopher Barron

Interim General Director

Christopher Barron’s career has embraced all performing art forms. He trained initially as a stage manager at Central School of Speech & Drama, subsequently working at Glyndebourne Opera, the Wexford Festival and the Royal Exchange Theatre.  He was the first stage manager of Adam Pollock’s renowned Musica Nel Chiostro opera festival in Tuscany, which has been nurturing major operatic talent for 30 years.

Festivals have been an important part of Christopher’s career with senior management roles at the festivals of Buxton and Edinburgh, expanding his international connections particularly in Eastern Europe and the Far East.  He was the Director of the Arts Council’s Arts 2000 Year of Drama in Manchester in 1994, a foretaste of today’s Manchester International Festival.

Christopher became Chief Executive of Brighton Festival in 1995 and was responsible for the major restoration of the Brighton Dome and the reimagining of the festival’s programme. In 2000 he became Chief Executive of Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet, managing significant economic and artistic change for both companies.  In 2005 he moved to Birmingham Royal Ballet where he managed the company through the banking crisis years, building a substantial development income which enabled the production of 24 new ballets.

Christopher is a former Chair of the dance agencies in Nottingham and Brighton and was a long-term trustee of Dance Umbrella. He has just completed eight years as a trustee of Rambert Dance Company and of the Three Choirs Festival, Britain’s oldest festival.  He is delighted to join WNO now, a company he has followed closely since his years studying Russian and Italian at Swansea University in the mid-1970s.