South Downs Opera was founded by Mark Riches and John Jenkins in 2011 and is based in the market town of Heathfield, in the beautiful Wealden area of East Sussex.

The company’s ethos is to support and bring opera to rural communities, using professional singers, giving local people the opportunity to participate in the excitement of an operatic performance whether on stage, back stage or as an audience member. In addition we use local businesses and craftsmen for the administrative and production aspects of our work. We also offer young singers, and those interested in a possible career in the theatre, the opportunity to gain valuable experience of working with professional artists.

For both our inaugural production of Tosca in 2012, and our production of Aida in 2015, we collaborated with the Heathfield Choral Society and their Music Director Brian Newman. For both productions the staging and sets were designed by Terry Parsons, with lighting designed by Bruce Williams. For Aida, the costumes were designed by Mark Riches. 

South Downs Opera is a Registered Charity (No 1156189).

We are always looking for people to help with all aspects of operatic production. Some of the areas we particularly need people to help with are:

  • stage management – organising the singers backstage so they are in the right place at the right time
  • people to help move and assemble staging/scenery
  • costume makers
  • actors to take non-singing roles in the action of the opera
  • make-up artists
  • front of house helpers
  • lighting technicians

If you would be interested in supporting our next production, please contact us using the e mail address or telephone number on the Contact page of this website.