Opera North appoints new executive director

Leeds-based opera company Opera North has appointed Henry Filloux-Bennett Executive Director.

Henry is currently Executive Director and Deputy CEO of HOME in Manchester. Prior to this, he was the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield and previously the Head of Marketing at The Lowry and Head of Marketing & Communications at Nottingham Playhouse. Henry has also worked as a producer and general manager for organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Theatre Royal Haymarket and Bill Kenwright Ltd.

As an author and playwright, Henry wrote the award-winning Nigel Slater’s Toast, commissioned by The Lowry, which subsequently transferred to the Traverse Theatre Edinburgh, The Other Place in London plus a UK tour. In 2020, he wrote What a Carve Up! based on the novel by Jonathan Coe, which was chosen as part of the Guardian’s Top 10 theatre shows and The Telegraph’s Top 50 Cultural Events of the year.

In 2021, he adapted Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray starring Fionn Whitehead and Joanna Lumley, a digital production for Barn Theatre which was seen in over 70 countries. Most recently he co-wrote the original screenplay Going the Distance which starred Sarah Hadland, Shobna Gulati and Matthew Kelly, a digital comedy co-produced by the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, The Dukes and The Watermill Theatre.

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, said, “I am delighted to announce that Henry Filloux-Bennett has been appointed as our new Executive Director, joining the Company in May 2023. He brings with him a wealth of experience through his theatre career and as a writer.

“This is a pivotal moment in the history of Opera North as we develop our strategic priorities and re-build our way out of the impact of the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis. Henry will be a key part of the leadership of Opera North into the future, bringing with him significant experience of business planning, budgetary and financial forecasting, programming, stakeholder management, commercial strategies and food and beverage hospitality.

“I am thrilled to be able to welcome Henry to the Opera North team and look forward to our collaboration as colleagues.”

Henry Filloux-Bennett said, “I am thrilled to be joining the team at Opera North. Having had a long connection with the Company, from first seeing them at the Theatre Royal and Concert Hall in Nottingham to then working with them at The Lowry in Salford and more recently at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, the prospect of joining as Executive Director at this really exciting – but also challenging – time is one I absolutely relish.”

Opera North is a national opera company based in Leeds. The Company tours award-winning opera and musical theatre to theatres and concert halls across the north of England, including regular appearances in Leeds, Greater Manchester, Newcastle/Gateshead, Nottingham and Hull. The Company’s wide-ranging education and community partnerships work brings music and performance into the lives of communities across the region.

Opera North also operates and programmes the Howard Assembly Room, a 300-seat performance venue in central Leeds which offers an eclectic programme of world music, jazz and folk, classical, talks, film screenings and family events, and the new restaurant and bar Kino, which opened in 2022 and is located on New Briggate in Leeds adjacent to the Howard Assembly Room and Leeds Grand Theatre.

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