Joe O’Neill is currently senior producer for the education department at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. He has been appointed as the new managing director of Leicestershire-based Nevill Holt Opera (NHO), taking over from Annie Lydford, who is moving on to be chief executive at The Academy of St Martin in the Fields in London.

As Shakespeare’s Globe’s senior producer for the education department, O’Neill championed the growth of access to live performance for young people and families. He has also been successful in increasing new audiences through the creation of innovative performances, education work and partnerships.

Joe O’Neill trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in north-west London as a theatre designer. He has since worked extensively in the arts and education sectors, staging and creating a variety of productions, festivals and educational programmes, including producing The Festival at Hampstead Theatre, an annual three-day programme of drama and literary events that launched in 2015. Elsewhere, O’Neill is an active governor and trustee and currently vice chair for a school, as well as treasurer and trustee of a housing non-profit organisation.

Commenting on his new position, O’Neill said: “I am very much looking forward to working with Nevill Holt Opera as the company continues to grow each year. Alongside its excellent performances of opera and concerts, NHO clearly has meaningful education work and artist development at its core.

“The company’s mission to widen access to brilliant live performance and participation is one that is close to my heart, and I am pleased to bring my own experience to ensure the success and growth of this important work.

“2023 is NHO’s 10th anniversary year, and I am looking forward to working closely with Nicholas Chalmers, the Nevill Holt Opera team, and the Board to celebrate this milestone and to secure a tremendous future for NHO for years to come.”

Joe O’Neill will take up his new role of managing director on 19 September 2022.

NHO has just brought its Summer Festival for 2022 to a successful conclusion. The event featured productions of Puccini’s La bohéme (The Bohemians, 1896) and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (1816), as well as tours to Lincoln Cathedral and Sage Gateshead and a concert series at Nevill Holt featuring orchestras and ensembles including BBC Concert Orchestra and The Dunedin Consort.

NHO’s artistic director Nicholas Chalmers added: “We are delighted to be welcoming Derbyshire-born Joe O’Neill to our team. We were impressed with the way he has sustained and grown the education programme at Shakespeare’s Globe.

“His background in producing, audience development and introducing young people to theatre makes him perfectly placed to build and broaden Nevill Holt Opera’s reach and long-term strategies. 2023 marks the 10th anniversary year of Nevill Holt Opera and I look forward to producing our education, community and operatic work alongside Joe.”

Annie Lydford served as managing director of NHO for three seasons, having taken up the position in January 2020. She joins the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (ASMF) as chief executive on 12 September 2022. She currently serves on the board of the Buxton International Festival and was a founding board member of SWAP’ra, an organisation supporting women and parents in opera.

She takes over the role from Alison Tedbury, ASMF’s director of concerts, who has been interim chief executive since the departure of Alan Watts in December 2021.

Details of NHO’s 2023 season will be announced in the coming months.



Currently Shakespeare’s Globe’s senior producer for the education department, Joe O’Neill will take up a new role of managing director at Leicestershire’s Nevill Holt Opera in September.