Highbury Opera Theatre is run by a team of musicians, dramatists, artists, educators and arts-lovers who live and work around Highbury, North London. They come from all walks of life and backgrounds, sharing a love of bringing performing arts to their local community.
We are supported by trusts and foundations including PRS for Music Foundation and Arts Council England.
Scott Stroman | Artistic Director
Scott Stroman is a conductor, composer, and singer in a uniquely broad range of musical styles from baroque to contemporary classical, jazz, world and popular music. He is Artistic Director of Highbury Opera Theatre, Director of Eclectic Voices and the London Jazz Orchestra, Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Director of Music at the American International Church. He has conducted many programmes with Opéra National de Lyon, directed the LPO's innovative Renga, Hit Squad and Future First ensembles and the contemporary string ensemble OPUS 20, and conducts orchestras, choirs and jazz groups in the UK and Europe. The numerous jazz, world and popular music artists he has worked with include Youssou N'Dour, Billy Cobham, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Wheeler, Goran Bregovich, Liza Minelli and Phil Collins.
His numerous compositions include orchestral works, song-cycles, suites for jazz orchestras, chamber music, songs, and works for the stage. Fever Pitch the Opera is his third stage work for HOT following a Shakespeare musical, As You Like It, and Fables, a one-act opera created for Highbury Youth Opera and tenor Adrian Thompson.
Sarah Wilkinson | Assistant Music Director
Sarah is the Musical Director of Highbury Young Singers, one of HOT's partner choirs. She founded Highbury Young Singers in 1996 with Scott Stroman. Sarah studied Music at King’s College London, Accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and repetiteur work on the English National Opera short course. She is also a qualified music therapist and worked in this field for several years. Sarah has worked with children and young people throughout her career; directing Highbury Young Singers, teaching music and singing in schools to classes and larger groups and running holiday music and drama courses. She enjoys a rich musical life performing , coaching & teaching & is Assistant Director of Eclectic Voices.
Helen Smee | General Manager
Helen is a freelance conductor, pianist and organist and works regularly with a broad range of choirs and music organisations. Helen grew up in East London and joined her first choir in Highbury, aged 7. She later won a music scholarship at Francis Holland School, Clarence Gate and an organ scholarship at Peterhouse, Cambridge. She went on to complete a Master's degree at the Royal Academy of Music, studying Choral Conducting with Patrick Russill – graduating in July 2013 with the Alan Kirby Prize. Helen is currently Organist and Director of Music at St Mary the Virgin, Merton Park SW19,Musical Director of Buckland and Betchworth Choral Society, and Musical Director of Highbury Youth Choir, regularly preparing the group for productions with Highbury Opera Theatre. She is active as a freelance conductor, organist and accompanist in London. Helen works regularly with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and is a co-founder/director of the Voices of London Festival, a week-long festival of choral music held each June.
Greg Klerkx | Producer
Greg is a producer, trainer and writer. As co-founder of Nimble Fish, he produced the original site-specific production of Clare Bayley's The Container, a harrowing exploration of the refugee experience, which won a Scotsman Fringe First and Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has since been staged worldwide.
In 2016, Nimble Fish produced the UK tour of performance storyteller Debs Newbold’s new work, Lost in Blue, which won the 2016 Acting Excellence Award at Summerhall for its Edinburgh Fringe run there. In 2015, Nimble Fish produced the UK tour of My Father and Other Superheroes, written and performed by award- winning poet Nick Makoha. The tour was accompanied by Re:Play, a pilot programme to develop original performance work by minority writers. Re:Play work premiered at London’s Southbank Centre as part of the 2015 Poetry International Festival, and work created through the programme has since been staged at Contact Theatre, Roundhouse, and international festivals.
Greg has been part of Highbury Opera Theatre since its early days. He is also a trustee of Spread the Word, London’s largest writer-development charity, and a governor at Camden School for Girls.
Matthew Lloyd | Chair
Matthew Lloyd founded Matthew Lloyd Architects in east London in the early '90s, developing an award-winning practice recognised for its sensitive, innovative, contextual architecture. A native Londoner, Matthew and his family are active members of the Highbury community. Matthew has been designing sets for Highbury Opera Theatre since it was set up in 2011 - and before. He started with a set for our pilot production of Noye's Fludde in 2010, and since then has brought us dramatic settings for “As You Like It” (2014), our bigger "Noye’s Fludde” (2013) and “Tobias and the Angel” (2012) all performed in the Union Chapel, Islington. Matthew took on the role of Chair in 2016.
Lucy Waterhouse | Orchestral Co-ordinator and Leader
Lucy was born into a family of musicians in London and graduated from Cambridge University before finishing her violin studies in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Indiana University in USA. After college Lucy lived for three years in Norway, both up in the arctic north and in Oslo, where she played chamber music, then in the Norwegian Opera and Oslo Philharmonic. Back in London, Lucy works as a freelance orchestral player -including with the Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Classical Opera Company. She also teaches and coaches youngsters in schools (including for the Apollo Music Project) and on residential courses.
Back in 2001, Lucy formed Tango Volcano, after studying tango in Buenos Aires, funded by a Churchill Memorial Scholarship. The band is now in its second decade and has performed in festivals & theatres up and down the country, including Cheltenham, Lichfield, Aldeburgh, Norwich & Bath to name a few.
Rachel Maby | Youth Chorus Director
Rachel Maby is a vocal coach and mezzo soprano from Highbury, who is studying for a Masters in vocal performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance, having studied on the Joint Course at the Royal Northern College of Music and University of Manchester.
She is an extremely experienced children’s music educator and Music Director, with notable positions including Choir Director for HMDT Music’s CYMH instrumental school, Assistant Music Director for Haringey Shed’s 2016 Summer production, Co-Music Director for Chant Production’s 2013 Rugby League World Cup stadium performances and Assistant Music Director for the National Youth Theatre’s production of Orpheus and Eurydice at the Old Vic Underground Tunnels. For more details please visit her website: rachelmaby.com
HYC is a family of Highbury's local youth choirs, bringing high quality choral training to young people aged 6-18 since 1996. They have been involved with HOT since its first days, and form the basis of the Highbury Opera Theatre Youth Chorus. When not working with HOT, they can be found performing all over London.
Eclectic Voices is an energetic and exciting choir, based in Highbury, which thrives on stretching and dynamic musical performances. Now in its 25th year the choir continues to be directed by its inspirational founder, HOT's Scott Stroman. The choir is notoriously versatile, covering an enormous range of genres and styles.
Union Chapel is an amazing space: an architectural treasure that’s home to a working church, an award-winning venue, an historic organ and The Margins Project for those homeless and in crisis. Over the past 25 years the Chapel has gone from facing demolition to being Grade 1 listed and welcoming tens of thousands of visitors a year.