Who's who

Douglas Boyd
Artistic Director

Dougie, in collaboration with his wonderful team, oversees the artistic direction of the company, including long-term repertoire planning, orchestra, cast and creative teams and working closely with Nicola Creed, our Executive Director. Before embarking on a conducting career Dougie was a founder member and principal oboe of The Chamber Orchestra of Europe for 21 years. He is also Music Director of Orchestre de chambre de Paris and guest conducts all over the world. His wife Sally Pendlebury is a cellist in the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Fitzwilliam String Quartet. Outside of music he is a political geek, an obsessive Crystal Palace fan and is making attempts to improve his French as well as raising three marvellous children. 

Nicola Creed
Executive Director

Nicola became Executive Director in 2013 after 14 years as Associate Director. She shares the helm with Artistic Director Douglas Boyd and together they have developed increasingly high artistic standards and seen the expansion of the length of the festival and its membership by over 50% in the last six years. She was one of the core team managing the move to Wormsley, the design of the opera house and the appeal for £3.5million.

After graduating from Cambridge, where she was a choral scholar and cellist, Nicola joined Harold Holt before producing classical music festivals in Exeter, York, Salisbury and Chichester. Before joining Garsington she spent ten years with the National Trust and three with the Historic Houses Association overseeing large-scale events and membership.  

Laura Canning
Laura Canning
Director of Artistic Administration

Laura moved to Garsington Opera in 2015 and manages the artistic side, working closely with production teams, principal singers, chorus and orchestra to ensure all productions are of the highest possible quality. During her degree in modern languages at Cambridge University, Laura worked backstage at the university theatre and has worked in opera administration for her whole career. She started in singer management with Athole Still and Harold Holt and has worked at Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera and Houston Grand Opera. She lives in Oxford with her husband and two sons. Don't invite her to an opera on a Tuesday evening as she hates to miss her local pub quiz.

Lindsey Cook
Director of Communications, Marketing & External Relations

Lindsey joined Garsington Opera to lead the team delivering communications, marketing and external relations for the company. Having worked in arts marketing for over two decades, she has worked across different art-forms and in partnership with venues, festivals and funding bodies.

Previously Lindsey led the marketing and communications for Birmingham 2022 Festival, the six-month cultural festival which was part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and reached an audience of 2.4m people from diverse communities. Prior to that she worked for Arts Council England looking at evaluation tools for the industry. She spent 20 years working at Midlands Arts Centre, starting teaching youth theatre, and finishing as the Director of Marketing and Communications at the West Midlands Most Visited non-paying attraction.

She is fascinated by the impact of the arts on communities and is passionate in her belief that everyone has the ability to be an artist. To prove this point she has some terrible looking pottery that she proudly made herself, and sings with more enthusiasm than talent in her local “embarrassing mums” choir.

Alison Dunnett
Development Director

Alison joined Garsington as Development Director in 2022 looking after all aspects of fundraising, membership, and box office, engaging our supporters and audiences in the many different aspects of our work from festival performances to school workshops. After studying music at university, Alison developed a career in arts fundraising and communications working with the London Symphony Orchestra, Harold Holt Artist Management, European Opera Centre, RADA, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and most recently 12 years with Welsh National Opera. Alison has a passion for “early” and “contemporary” music and before children, performed with amateur choirs and orchestras in London. Nowadays she enjoys the active approach to getting away from it all (and from the two teenagers) through rowing, swimming, hiking, travel, and fine dining.

Steve Hawkins
Technical Director

Steve is responsible for all technical aspects of Garsington Opera's productions. He works closely with directors, designers and heads of lighting, costume, wigs and props to realise all design elements of each production. He particularly enjoys working with independent set builders and scenic artists from around the country to produce the varied and ambitious set designs. He recruits and manages the seasonal stage management and production teams and oversees the technical running of the repertory season. In his free time Steve likes to go camping and walking with his young family.