For ten years I worked as an opera singer and sang in a lot of opera houses all over the world. At the start of the new millenium, I replaced the time I spent singing, worrying about singing, and sitting around in hotel rooms and rented flats, with time at home spent writing and dreaming up stagings of plays, opera, and dances in my head. In 2001, I was commissioned to write and direct the regina monologues for the Covent Garden Festival. Then I assisted Richard Jones at Glyndebourne (a company for whom I had last sang Cherubino, and who sponsored me as a singer at the National Opera Studio). In 2004 I published my first novel, Long Gone Anybody (Transworld-Black Swan) in 2004, and the second, Cold Comfort (Transworld-Doubleday) in 2006. From 2004-2012 I ran my own production company, The Paddock, and we produced many new commissions: plays, operas and dances, usually in unexpected places. Meanwhile I began teaching writing at University of Sussex, as well as being a Guest Tutor for the Arvon Foundation, and mentoring online for The Literary Consultancy.
In 2013 I directed a new opera, Imago, by Orlando Gough and Stephen Plaice, at Glyndebourne, and in 2014, Chabrier’s L’Etoile for New Sussex Opera, and Harrison Birtwistle’s Down by the Greenwood Side for the 2014 Brighton Festival. In 2015, I was commissioned by the Brighton Festival to create a new show around the subject of gender called Being Both, with the singer Alice Coote, and the English Concert Orchestra, led by Harry Bicket, which was then performed in a scaled-down version at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. In the autumn of 2015, I directed La Liberazione di Ruggiero by Francesca Caccini, for the Brighton Early Music Festival, a production which was selected as one of The Guardian critic Tim Ashley’s Top Ten Classical Music performances of 2015. Mr Ashley also selected for his Top Ten the performance of Zaza, by Leoncavallo, given by Opera Rara, which I semi-staged at the Barbican in November.
I currently mentor writers one-to-one, and teach on the two-year course at the Creative Writing Programme based at New Writing South. On the Writing Coach page of this site, you will find more information on mentoring options and fees, as well as news about any upcoming writing retreats I am leading.