Glyndebourne has appointed Sharmila Nebhrajani OBE, chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and top solicitor Helen Ward, a partner at Stewarts Law LLP, to its Board of Trustees. The Sussex-based opera house has also launched a new initiative called Creative Conspirators.

Lord Davies of Abersoch, chair of trustees, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Sharmila and Helen; they will add huge experience to the board.”

Nebhrajani read Medicine at the University of Oxford, graduating with first class honours in Physiological Sciences. She then began an international consulting career in finance and strategy, while qualifying as a chartered accountant.

She spent 14 years at the BBC, including nine years as chief operating officer at BBC Future Media and Technology. She was most recently chief executive of Wilton Park, a not-for-profit agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office convening international policy dialogues on topics such as global health, regional and national security, climate change and artificial intelligence.

She now sits on a range of boards including Severn Trent plc, ITV plc and National Savings and Investments. She is a World Fellow at the University of Yale and was made an OBE in 2014 for services to medical research.

Ward is a leading solicitor and a partner at Stewarts Law LLP. Recognition includes being named a ‘Star Individual’ in Chambers High Net Worth guide 2021 and inclusion in The Legal 500 2021 Hall of Fame. She was listed in ‘Top Flight’ in Spear’s 500 2021 guide and in the Spear’s 500 Family Lawyers list. She also spent many years as a deputy district judge, sitting in what is now known as the Central Family Court.

Sarah Hopwood, managing director of Glyndebourne, said: “The strength of the board has been felt more than ever this past year as we’ve sought their support and expertise to help us face difficult decisions arising from the pandemic crisis. We are thrilled to be gaining the talent and insight that Sharmila and Helen have to offer and to be further diversifying the experience and skill set of the board.”

Additionally, the opera house has announced a new pilot initiative bringing together a group of six volunteers to work with the board and executive management to bring complementary experience and different perspectives to the company’s strategic thinking.

These ‘Creative Conspirators’ will meet four times a year to explore the challenges faced by Glyndebourne, with a focus in the first year on attracting new audiences. The group is chaired by Glyndebourne trustee Christopher Walter, a partner in the international law firm Covington & Burling LLP and co-founder and owner of the NME award-winning Ramsgate Music Hall.

The Creative Conspirators consist of Jamal Edwards MBE, a British entrepreneur and author, and the founder of SB.TV – an online music platform for emerging artists that he launched from his bedroom at the age of 15; Dr Zahira Jaser, an assistant professor at the University of Sussex Business School, where she convenes and teaches modules in leadership, organisational behaviour and applied research and is deputy director of the MBA programme; Professor Anthony Lilley OBE, a theatre and media practitioner and theorist with a background in creative, policy and academic spheres; Jack Pepper is one of the youngest commissioned composers in the UK, working with instrumentalists and orchestras since his early teens; and finally Zerlina Vulliamy is the founder president of Oxford Contemporary Opera, a successful company with the aim of producing and creating modern opera.

“We want Glyndebourne to be as forward-thinking now as our founders John and Audrey were in 1934 by drawing on diverse experience and skills from outside the organisation,” said Richard Davidson-Houston Glyndebourne’s director of audience development and media. “To that end we have brought together an incredible group of energetic, open-minded and inventive people to act as a think tank for creative ideas and to challenge our assumptions.”



Sussex-based opera house Glyndebourne has announced the appointment of two new members to its Board of Trustees, as well as launching Creative Conspirators, a brand new initiative to help steer the organisation’s creative future.