Our Team

Founder

Marj Barton (1937-2014)

Born in Ryhope as the daughter of musicians, Marj trained as a teacher, particularly of history. Music however remained central to her life, and she participated for many years in local operatic productions. She also wrote regularly for the local press, being classical music critic for the Sunderland Echo for many years. Throughout her life, Marj was a practising visual artist. Her pieces have bee...

Patron

Sir Thomas Allen

Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. At the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where in 2011 he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his debut with the company, he has sung over fifty roles. The same year he also celebrated the 30th anniversary of his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

He has been particularly acclaimed for his Billy Budd, Pelléas...

Chair

Anna Snell

Originally from the West Country Anna Snell moved North to study teaching and spent 10 years as a teacher of English and Drama.

Since leaving teaching, Anna has worked with a range of cultural organisations, across the North East, devising and managing arts projects that reflect a range of disciplines including, theatre, dance, music, literature and media. Working for organisations, such as the...

Board Member and Secretary to the Trustees

Alex Murchie

Alex Murchie’s professional life was spent at Tyne Tees Television as a researcher and producer of documentaries and current affairs.

For nine years she sat on the Board of Management of Making Music, the national umbrella organisation for amateur musicians. She was a member of the Northern, then North East regional committee from 1992, chairing it from 2008 - 2011. She is at present Regional A...

Board Member

Fiona Tobin

Fiona Tobin hails from County Durham and studied music at the University of Edinburgh. An active choral and solo singer, Fiona has sung with the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia since 2007 and guested with many other groups including Voices of Hope.

Fiona was part of the Learning team at Sage Gateshead for 10 years, helping to create opportunities for people of the North East to engage with mu...

Board Member

Peter Moth

Peter Moth retired as Director of Broadcasting at Tyne Tees Television in 1996 after 28 years in broadcasting. Prior to that he had worked for 6 years as a teacher of religious education. and remains a minister of the United Reformed Church, ordained in 1963. As well as being a Trustee of the Northern Arts Board and The Hearth at Horsley, he has chaired the Boards of the National Glass Centre, Nor...

Board Member and Treasurer

Peter Sullivan

Peter Sullivan is a qualified CIPFA accountant. Originally from Watford, he has lived in the North East since 1986, and has worked for several local authorities (including North Yorkshire County Council and South Tyneside Council) and private sector firms. Within the organisation, he is the Treasurer, responsible for finance matters.

Board Member and Company Secretary

Tony Winfield

Tony Winfield is a retired solicitor and deputy district judge. Originally from Birmingham, he has lived in Sunderland since 1972, and has had a long standing interest in music and drama of all sorts. Within the organisation, he is the Company Secretary and is responsible for legal and regulatory matters.

Artistic Director

Alison Barton

Trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Alison was a professional opera singer for 30 years. In 1991, she represented Scotland in the BBC Singer of the World competition, and her performances have been broadcast nationally and internationally on radio and TV.

In 2001 Alison created Naked Opera, which brought innovative presentation of classical vocal music to communities across Scotland...