How did you find out about Glyndebourne Youth Opera
‘Initially my grandparents told me about an article in their local newspaper advertising for anyone interested in opera. I was reluctant to go as I knew nothing about opera and thought it wasn’t for me. They took me and when I got to the Ebert Room and saw what it was all about I ate a lot of humble pie! I auditioned and got into GYO – I’m so glad they made me go!’
What were your most memorable moments?
‘Walking onto the stage for the first time – it was like I’d come home! Singing on that stage for the first time to a full house was life changing. Filming Zoë at my college the summer before I went to drama school. Working with Stephen Langridge in Misper and Zoë – his mentorship put me in excellent stead for my career.’
What have you done since GYO?
‘I went on to train in musical theatre and I graduated from drama school in 2003. I have been acting ever since. I have since come back as a chaperone and can see how the education department are still changing lives for children of all walks of life.’
Dido & Aeneas, 1998. Photo: Mike Hoban
Looking back, what do you think you gained from being part of GYO?
‘Being treated like a professional before I was one was invaluable and gave me a taste of what the industry was like. Ian Jackson, Stephen Cowin and all the staff were great mentors and supported me through the productions. I developed my voice and sight reading with the help of various tutors in GYO along the way. I made friends for life through those experiences and they have shaped the person I am today.’
What’s it like to perform at Glyndebourne?
‘One of the most magical, electrifying and indescribable phenomenological experiences I have ever had. I can’t find the words. I owe so much to Glyndebourne – thank you.’
What would you say to anyone thinking about taking part in an education project at Glyndebourne?
‘Do it… it changed my world and who knows what it’ll do for you!’
Imago, 2013 (Mark pictured centre). Photo: Robert Workman
[Information collected 05/10/16]