David Collins appointed Opera North Executive Director / Deputy CEO

Opera North has appointed David Collins to the new role of Executive Director / Deputy CEO. 

The Company said its artistic, education and community work has grown exponentially over the last five years, and continues to develop in scope, ambition and diversity. The new role of Executive Director/ Deputy CEO reflects and supports this expansion, and will align key areas of audience development, marketing and digital with business and commercial functions including finance, business planning, operations, HR and hospitality   

This new role strengthens the Company’s senior leadership team at a crucial moment for Opera North, as it returns to a full programme of activity following the completion of Music Works, an £18 million capital redevelopment programme which has transformed its headquarters in the heart of Leeds city centre. The expanded estate, adjacent to Leeds Grand Theatre, now comprises modern, flexible rehearsal, artistic and administrative facilities, a new entrance and front of house space for the 300-seat Howard Assembly Room, and a new restaurant and bar, due to open in early 2022. The new Bramall Education Studio additionally houses the Company’s growing Education programme. 

David has been Director of External Affairs at Opera North since 2016, leading the marketing, box office, communications, digital and development teams.  Most recently he has overseen the fundraising campaign for Music Works whilst leading on Opera North’s growing digital output finding new ways to connect with audiences during the COVID pandemic.  Prior to joining Opera North, David was Head of Marketing at the Royal Shakespeare Company working on productions in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and on tour nationally and internationally, as well as the launch of Live from the RSC and the capital transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. He is a Trustee of Opera Europa, the association of European opera companies, and Pilot Theatre. 

Further changes to Opera North’s senior management team include the appointment of Emily Simpson, previously Head of Marketing, to the new role of Director of Audiences, and Richard Ashton previously General Manager of the Howard Assembly Room, as Director of Operations. The Company will also be recruiting for a new Director of Development. 

Richard Mantle, General Director / CEO, said“I am delighted to announce that David Collins has accepted my invitation to be appointed Executive Director / Deputy CEO , building on the significant contribution he has made to Opera North as Director of External Affairs over the past five years. During his tenure he has become a valued colleague and has provided crucial leadership in marketing, revenue generation and fundraising, not least steering the £18 million Music Works fundraising campaign to transform our estate and operations, while retaining a clear focus on the Company’s engagement with audiences and communities.  

“His expanded remit as Executive Director and Deputy CEO will further strengthen Opera North’s senior management team at a time of real renewal and drive for the Company, as we embark on our first large scale tour since early 2020, and open our buildings to share an expanded programme of artistic and participation activity with audiences across the North.”  

David said, “As Opera North returns to a full programme of live performance and begins to realise the potential of our transformed home in Leeds I’m thrilled to be taking on this role.  It remains a challenging time as we emerge from the pandemic, but there is also huge opportunity to learn lessons from the past 18 months of extraordinary change, forging new ways of making and sharing music with people across the North and around the world.”   

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