To advance education about, promote public appreciation of, and encourage participation in, the art of opera and singing for the public benefit by;
· Developing singing at all levels from amateur to professional standard
· Encouraging emerging professional singers to find new approaches to the rehearsal and performance of opera
· Developing new audiences for opera, music recitals and concerts with innovative, inclusive and accessible performances
· Promote singing for mental and physical health for all
Olivia Shaw, Chair
Olivia has had a long career in marketing and communications, holding senior marketing and communications positions in both local and national NHS organisations for over 20 years and has significant board experience. She has also held the position of company secretary at an NHS trust. In the later years of her career, her work focussed mainly on service improvement and large scale change. She has previously been a trustee of another charitable organisation and has led on and been involved in many successful fund-raising events both for the public and charitable sectors.
She has a life-long interest in music and the arts and, having moved to Hastings some years ago, is delighted by the quality and range of cultural activities available locally.
Diana Bickley, Trustee
Diana Bickley has been a working musician all her life. She was Chairman of Swindon Music Cooperative for ten years, before moving to St Leonard’s on sea where she met Jenny Miller and became involved with Barefoot Opera. She has been Chairman of the BFO Trustees since 2014, stepping down in March 2022. In other roles, after taking most of the nineties off from her full-time music-teaching career to prepare and complete her PhD thesis alongside working as a Pricing Analyst in The City, Dr Bickley spent the remainder of her working life teaching A level music and associated subjects at New College, Swindon.
Currently she directs the Guildhall Alumni Choir and Shoestring Opera. After the latter’s success with Cenerentola at the Villages Music Festival, they will perform Iolanthe at the Charlbury Festival in June. Diana also enjoys coaching and accompanying, playing piano duets, and double bass in informal chamber music sessions and at The Rehearsal Orchestra’s day and weekend courses.Currently she directs the Guildhall Alumni Choir and Shoestring Opera. Diana also enjoys coaching and accompanying, playing piano duets, and double bass in informal chamber music sessions and at The Rehearsal Orchestra’s day and weekend courses.
Joao Figueiredo, Trustee
Joao is a well-rounded management consultant with a background in governance and organisational change. Experienced in managing and delivering complex consultancy projects, he works with senior leadership across government and public sector to achieve effective and sustainable outcomes.
With an academic background in international development, Joao has experience in the not-for-profit sector. He worked with the UNDP in Cambodia, where he oversaw the landmines programme clearance programme’s M&E processes; and for International Service UK, where he was part of a development programme focused in Ghana. As part of the University of York’s Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), Joao conducted research in Kosovo on themes of reconciliation and development.
A strong believer in the power of the arts in driving community and human development Joao is very keen to work with community-based organisations to help democratise the arts and support young professionals to build their portfolios.
Virginia Gilbert, Treasurer
Virginia Gilbert is a retired local government service head with management experience in IT, HR, Finance and a range of public recreational and cultural services. Her earlier roles included business analysis, systems analysis and project management for large employers in the UK and the US. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the State University of New York. She has a strong interest in opera and the development of young singers and wholeheartedly supports the work of Jenny Miller and Barefoot Opera. She has been a trustee since 2017.
Glenys Jacques, Trustee
Glenys Jacques MSc MA has worked for 30 years in education and the arts. She has directed and collaborated on many theatre and arts projects with The Stables and Electric Palace cinema. She has organised creative funding events, and presents the annual International Womens film week. Glenys has run workshops on personal expression and creativity. In her capacity as a psychotherapist she has conducted mediation and ethical process for various organisations.
Charles Neal, Trustee
Charles Neal has been involved in charitable, voluntary and community projects & campaigns for sixty years. Through these and his education and psychotherapy practices, he has always sought to provide new opportunities for disenfranchised people. For twenty-five years he was active in innovative education for excluded communities at all levels. His four ground-breaking psychotherapy books and the organisations he co-created have opened new fields of theory, practice & ethics in supporting diverse communities. He has been a trustee and chair for numerous organisations from residents associations to European psychologists’ groups. His other interests are grandfathering, parenting, politics, the arts, travel, photography and gardens.