Board of Trustees

The Board of Non-Executive Directors is made up of a range of professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Working in partnership with the Chief Executive, Trustees set the strategic direction for the organisation and ensure that its goals are fully aligned with the Opera House’s vision. Trustees provide expert knowledge and guidance on governance, finance, management, business planning and the arts and charity sectors.

The Board normally meets six times a year. There is a Finance, Audit & Risk Committee, a Remuneration Committee, a Fundraising Committee and a Nominations Committee. These sub-committees report to the main Board to assist its decision-making.

Currently there are nine Trustees.

Professor Judy Simons (Chair)

Judy Simons joined Buxton Opera House as Chair in 2018 following a career in academic management. She has chaired several national higher education bodies and steered key policy initiatives, including an innovative programme for stimulating partnerships between universities and creative businesses. She is emeritus professor of English at De Montfort University Leicester and a Research Fellow at the University of London. 

For the past decade Judy has enjoyed a non-executive portfolio career in the public sector, including senior board positions at Sheffield Hallam University, Standards for England and Leicester Arts. Currently she is a trustee of the Girls Day School Trust. a member of Derby University Court, and Chair of City CV, an international career development company. 

Judy lives in Bakewell and is a long-standing supporter of Buxton Opera House. She is a passionate believer in the transformative power of the creative arts and their central role in the local economy. 

Helen Bowdur

Helen Bowdur lives in Derbyshire. As an experienced Fundraising Director & Consultant, she has extensive knowledge of the cultural sector and spent over a decade working for the National Media Museum, Manchester International Festival and Opera North.

For the last few years, Helen has been a successful fundraising consultant and strategist, working with a number of regional and national arts organisations, most recently on the multi-million pound capital project at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, where she is now a Trustee. Prior to building her career in the arts sector, Helen spent 20 years working in news and current affairs for the BBC & ITV networks, where she was a producer.

Steve Clark

Steve Clark is a former senior banking partner at a large international law firm based in the City of London. He holds an MA in Law from Cambridge University and has over 35 years’ experience in the banking and finance sector. In 2002/03, he won the Law Society Gazette's Centenary Award for the most significant contribution to the law and/or legal profession for that year.
Steve also has a wide range of charity and volunteering experience. He has worked at various underprivileged childrens’ adventure centres, was the unpaid legal adviser to Hand to Hand (a charity near to his previous home in in Essex), was a volunteer in the legal department of Save the Children and was invited to do the same with the NSPCC. 
Currently Steve is working with two local charities- in the Visitor Experience Teams at Chatsworth (The Devonshire Group) and at Peveril Castle (English Heritage). He is also Clerk to the Governors at Taxal and Fernilee Primary School (Derbyshire County Council). 
Steve was born and brought up in Derbyshire and now lives in The Square, Buxton. He is delighted to be working with the iconic Buxton Opera House.

Andrew Fletcher

Andrew Fletcher is Director of Attenborough Arts Centre at the University of Leicester, a leading contemporary arts hub with extensive performance, visual arts, learning and student teaching and research programmes. Over the past 15 years he has specialised in arts venue leadership & management with roles at the National Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Serpentine, Wigmore Hall and Warwick Arts Centre. 

He is also a Trustee of Lancaster Arts at Lancaster University. Growing up in Stockport, Andrew started visiting Buxton Opera House at a young age, and is committed to supporting its future development for generations to come.

Roddie MacLean

Roddie is a Chartered Architect with a special interest in regeneration and whose Buxton practice has marked 20 years of business. He is also a consultant on wider heritage issues, a property manager and runs a small local holiday lettings business.  

Brought up on the West coast of Scotland, he has resigned himself to the lack of seaside in Buxton and is determined to do all he can otherwise to help the town achieve its fullest potential. He was a founding director of Buxton Town Team CIC and Buxton Markets CIC and currently chairs Vision Buxton, the town’s business organisation.  His interests include gardening, walking, travel and the arts in all their forms. One of his first volunteering roles in Buxton, in the early 1990s, was behind the Dress Circle bar at Buxton Opera House.

Jane Moulder

Jane Moulder worked in the fields of HR and organisational development for over 30 years in a variety of sectors.  She held a number of Board level and senior positions, as well as being an independent consultant working with SMEs and voluntary organisations. She is currently a non-executive director of a major social housing trust.

In the late 1990’s she moved into the not-for-profit sector and was able to accommodate her love of the arts into her working life. Jane is a musician and musical instrument maker and, with her group, regularly performs throughout the UK and Europe. She helped run an international performing arts charity, an organisation primarily focused on young people and developing their talent and love of performing. 

Jane is passionate about encouraging engagement with the arts as well as sustaining local communities and has initiated and worked on a number of community projects in her home town in North Staffordshire. She is delighted to be associated with the Buxton Opera House and being able to play a part in sustaining and developing its place at the heart of the cultural and economic life of the region.

Alan Scott

Alan is a former Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers who worked for the HSBC Group for more than 35 years, which included many senior management and leadership roles.  Whilst his speciality was corporate banking and corporate turnaround / restructuring; Alan managed many business relationships during his career ranging from sole traders to FTSE100 companies in a variety of sectors such as contracting, manufacturing, retail and engineering. 

Since retiring, Alan has been a guest lecturer at Sheffield Business School and is a director of 2 other local charities.  

A proud Scotsman, Alan’s interests are rugby union, hill walking and music.

Edward Siddall

Edward Siddall is the representative of High Peak Borough Council on the Board. He has been a Councillor since 2011 and is currently Chair of the Council’s Economy and Growth Committee. He studied at the University of Derby’s Buxton Campus and has a degree in Travel Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.  

Edward has worked on several successful National Lottery bids, including one to improve a play area for £50,000, for a Heritage Trail for £50,000 and to support the Glossop Victorian Weekend for £10,000. He is part of the organising team for the Victorian Weekend, one of the biggest cultural and heritage events Glossop has held in the past few years. He is also a member of Glossop Roundtable.

Edward has a special interest in Theatre and is a regular visitor to Buxton Opera House. He fully appreciates the importance of the theatre to the visitor economy of Buxton and the High Peak. He is proud to support the improvement plans for the Opera House as a vital asset that will benefit the whole town and offer West End quality shows in the hills of the High Peak.

Sally Swift

Sally Swift is Senior Director, Global Legal Operations & Innovation at NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. Previously she was head of department at a national law firm where she led a team of over 260 people across their 5-office network. She also spent over 10 years running a successful legal outsourcing business after starting out her legal career managing her own litigation caseload in private practice. 

Sally has a passion for change management and creating efficient practices by developing new streamlined ways of working. In 2019 she was a finalist for ‘Inspirational Businesswoman of the Year’ in the UK and the national winner of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives ‘Award for Lifelong Learning’ in recognition of her commitment and dedication to championing access to the legal profession, breaking down barriers and creating new inclusive qualifications for apprentices and school leavers. In 2020 Sally completed an Executive MBA with Nottingham Business School to continue her own lifelong learning journey. 

Sally is a volunteer mentor with the Prince’s Trust. She loves to travel, enjoys hiking and getting outdoors near her home in the Peak District.

Governance Support

The Charity Company Secretaries play a key role in strategy and support for the Board. They ensure that the governance of the Trust is robust, ethical and fully compliant with charity law. They manage the meetings schedule, attend Board and sub-committees, and act as objective, impartial advisors to review policies and procedures in line with best practice as set out in the Charity Governance Code.

Kathryn Gilson

Kathryn Gilson (Company Secretary)

Kathryn Gilson is a qualified Company Secretary currently working as a freelance corporate governance professional.  She has over 25 years’ experience in governance and company secretarial roles, having spent her career predominantly with corporations in the finance and service sectors including Barclays, the AA, Direct Line and the Co-operative.  Kathryn has significant experience advising Boards on corporate governance best practice and project managing large scale corporate transactions.  In 2005, she obtained a Masters degree in Corporate Governance.

Kathryn has served as a Trustee of the Buxton Well Dressing Festival since the charity’s registration in 2013.  She was Treasurer when the decision was taken to form a registered charity. She assisted the Committee throughout this process.

Nicola Jordan (Deputy Company Secretary)

Nicola Jordan grew up in Cheshire and read Law at Sheffield University. A qualified solicitor, she worked as a commercial lawyer with Nabarro Nathanson before moving to her current role as General Counsel and Company Secretary for Siemens Mobility Ltd. She recently moved to Buxton and is delighted to be back in the area and to be able to play a role in the local community. She joins Buxton Opera House as deputy company secretary, where she supports and strengthens the Trust’s governance framework.

Outside of work, Nicola is a keen hiker and an aspiring golfer and has also been known to do some cheesemaking on the side.


Patrons and Vice-Patrons are high-profile, honorary ambassadors for Buxton Opera House. They fully support the Trust in its mission for the Opera House to be a top-quality artistic venue which offers a diverse programme designed to appeal to a wide range of stakeholders across the High Peak. 

Patrons are committed to helping the Opera House fulfil its potential as a focal point in the cultural regeneration of Buxton and its region.

Lady Jasmine Cavendish (Patron)

Lady Jasmine Cavendish has been a Non-Executive Director and the Patron of Buxton Opera House for 10 years. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, live at Chatsworth, not far from Buxton. The Cavendish family have had strong connections with the town that reach back over three hundred years. The 11th Duke of Devonshire was the first Patron of Buxton Opera House.

Lady Jasmine gained a degree from East Anglia University and has worked in the Arts Sector. She continues to have a strong interest in the performing arts. She is also President of the charity Contact the Elderly and Patron of the Buxton Poetry Competition.

Her home is in London with her husband Nicholas Dunne and their 3 young sons.

Louise Potter DL (Vice-Patron)

Louise Potter lives in Buxton, where she ran The Old Hall Hotel for 25 years. She completed her General Catering Diploma at High Peak College, Buxton, and worked with Grand Metropolitan Hotels in London. She was a Governor at High Peak College when it merged with the University of Derby. In 2001 she opened 6 The Square Tearooms, Buxton. 

Currently Louise is a Board member of Buxton International Festival. She chaired the Friends of Buxton Festival Trust for ten years and is now a member of the Trust. She is also Treasurer of the Children’s Kinder Choir Trust and Patron of the Buxton Music, Speech & Drama Festival.

In 2004, the University of Derby awarded her an Honorary Masters degree. Louise won Midlands Business Woman of the Year in 2002. She is a Deputy Lieutenant of Derbyshire and High Sheriff of Derbyshire 2020-21.

Carol Prowse, Vice-Patron of High Peak Theatre Trust

Carol Prowse BEM (Vice-Patron)

Carol Prowse was born and educated in the High Peak. She gained a degree in Economics from London University and worked in the City of London in banking before returning to the High Peak, where she was employed by the local authority. 

She started her 40-year association with Buxton Opera House in 1980, where she was Company Secretary, Board Director, Deputy Chair and latterly Chair. Carol has a strong belief in the core role the arts have to play in our wellbeing and sense of community identity. With Joyce Ellis MBE, she organised a series of successful international opera galas which raised substantial funds for the development of the Opera House. 

Carol has been a non-executive director of High Peak Dales NHS Primary Care Trust and Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and is currently a member of Tameside & Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group where she chairs the Primary Care Committee. Carol was recognised with a British Empire Medal in HM Birthday Honours in June 2019 for services to the Arts and the Community in Derbyshire. 

Michael Williams (Vice-Patron)

Michael Williams’ involvement with the Opera House goes back 45 years when he developed the business plan for the restoration of the theatre. As Chairman from 2004-13, he oversaw the creation of the Pavilion Arts Centre and from 2003-15 was a member of the Buxton Festival Board.

Since 1967, Michael has conducted Buxton Musical Society. Having played the organ since his schooldays, he has been Director of Music at St John’s Church since 1985. In 2016 he was one of the first recipients of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Cranmer Award for Services to Church Music.

Michael has lived all his life in Buxton. He read Law at Oxford before qualifying as a solicitor. He served on the Law Society Council from 2015 to 2021. In 1997 he was appointed MBE in recognition of his work for the Opera House and Buxton Musical Society.

Find out more:

To contact the Non-Executive Directors, write to:

Buxton Opera House
Water Street
SK17 6XN