News and Features

My favourite place: Kate Simner (Education Assistant)

Kate Simner’s stage appearances at Glyndebourne have made it her favourite place.

From Peter Hall’s Otello to our new production Don Giovanni: Behind the Curtain, which goes out on Tour across the country from November-December, Kate Simner’s stage appearances at Glyndebourne have made it her favourite place.
How did you first discover your favourite place?

I came to Glyndebourne via the stage. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful music teacher at my school in Brighton who by some magic managed to get her class of rowdy teenagers in to audition for the Children’s Chorus for Peter Hall’s Otello (2001).

I was successful and spent an incredible summer being ferried in to rehearse at Glyndebourne (even getting to skip maths lessons to do so!) and to perform on the stage.

I have a vivid memory of standing on stage for the curtain call on closing night, looking out at the sea of applauding audience members and thinking ‘I’ll never get to do anything as amazing as this again’. Luckily that turned out not to be true!

Kate Simner in Imago (2013). Photo: Robert Workman.

How often do you go there?

After graduating, I spent a season working in the Box Office at Glyndebourne, seeing opera for the first time and learning more about Glyndebourne’s work.

I witnessed the work of the Education department first-hand as Knight Crew premiered that year, and I was so impressed by the level of the performance and the dedication shown by the young cast.

In 2012 I was overjoyed to gain a place in the chorus for Imago, which debuted on the main stage in 2013. The chorus featured in almost every scene, and the intense rehearsal schedule meant I spent many happy hours singing, learning choreography, acting and (most challengingly) working out how to run up the stairs in heels and a ball gown.

Most recently I was part of the Behind the Curtain Community Chorus, singing the finale of Don Giovanni with the Glyndebourne Chorus and the cast of Don Giovanni from this year’s Tour as part of new production Don Giovanni: Behind the Curtain.

What a rush! It’s still as thrilling as it was when I was 13 years old, looking out at those faces and feeling the power of the music surrounding me.

Kate Simner in Imago (2013). Photo: Robert Workman.

What makes it so special?

From my experiences on the Glyndebourne stage I became determined to be a part of making this work happen and was delighted to be appointed as Education Assistant in 2014.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been introduced to Glyndebourne all those years ago – and to work towards making that kind of opportunity available to others is just the icing on the cake.

I still love witnessing the moment a participant steps on to the stage for the first time, and seeing them realise they’re about to sing on one of the most respected opera stages in the world.

I know from personal experience it will stay with them for a lifetime.

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