The Fellowship Award

In 2015 & 2016, the INDEPENDENT OPERA Director Fellowship provided an emerging director with the opportunity to stage a chamber opera selected by IO at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells.

It is significant that the 100th Fellowship in our 10-year existence was a new Director’s Fellowship. The Fellowship is unique in the UK, in giving a young director the opportunity to stage a chamber opera and benefit from exceptional mentoring from internationally renowned directors and opera companies. 

“Winning the 2015 Director Fellowship presents me with an exceptional opportunity to stage a UK première in collaboration with a highly experienced creative and technical team at a prestigious venue, Sadler’s Wells.” Max Hoehn, Director Fellow 2015

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Application Process

Candidates were nominated in order to apply, with nominations sought from over 30 leading opera companies and directors in the UK and Europe.

The Selection process consisted of two rounds.
Round 1 included:

  • submission of a CV and a concept proposal, including scene by scene descriptions, design ideas and suggestions for a creative team
  • an interview at which the concept proposal is discussed


Round 2 included:

  • workshop auditions (singers and pianist provided) for a maximum of eight finalists with a panel of three influential opera directors and Independent Opera’s Chief Executive
  • a question and answer session with the panellists 

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The Panel

The Director Fellowship Panellists for the 2015 and 2016 award at Round 1 included directors Stephen Medcalf and Nicholas Payne (Opera Europa); and conductors Timothy Redmond and Dominic Wheeler

The Round 2 Panellists:

David Pountney

David Pountney
Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Welsh National Opera

Martin Duncan

Martin Duncan
Director and writer

Annilese Miskimmon

Annilese Miskimmon
Artistic Director, Norwegian National Opera