Youth Company

About the Youth Company

Artistic Director: Karen Gillingham
Vocal Director: Suzi Zumpe

Garsington Youth Company provides local young people aged 9-21 with the opportunity to develop their singing, creative skills, confidence and stage experience through the exciting world of opera. The Youth Company is divided into two groups: YC1 (ages 9-13) and YC2 (ages 13-21). 

During annual Easter and summer residencies, young singers learn from world-class stage and music directors, leading up to a performance on the main stage for an invited audience at Wormsley. In 2017 the Youth Company took part in the hugely successful world premiere of Silver Birch, performing three sold-out nights at Wormsley alongside international opera stars and the Foley Sound Design team from Pinewood Studios. Silver Birch was subsequently nominated for the International Opera Awards. 

In 2018 the Youth Company performed a new production of Eliza and the Swans, an opera by John Barber (composer) and Hazel Gould (librettist), on the main stage at Wormsley. 

2019 Opera: The Happy Princess

We are delighted to have been able to commission a brand new opera, The Happy Princess, written especially for our Youth Company. Based on The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde, the music will be composed by Paul Fincham with a libretto by Jessica Duchen (Silver Birch, 2017). 

We are looking for local young people - particularly those from Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire - to take part in the opera. If you are aged 9-21 and enjoy singing, acting and performing, we want to hear from you! There is no fee and no previous experience is required - we are looking for enthusiasm and potential, not the finished article! Rehearsals will be held in the High Wycombe area and The Happy Princess will be performed on the main stage at Wormsley on Friday 2 August 2019

All members, both current and new, are required to audition. This will be in the form of a fun, informal group workshop led by our director and vocal director. You will hear about The Happy Princess, learn and perform some of the repertoire, and meet other young people. Shortly after the workshop you will be informed if you have been successful in joining the 2019 Youth Company. 

Download flyer 1
Download flyer 2

To sign up or if you have any questions please contact our Youth Company Manager, Judy Knowles and include the following details:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Telephone
  • Parent/guardian's name and contact details
Workshop audition details

Saturday 15 September
Venue in High Wycombe - location TBC

11.30am - 12.30pm
Current members (those who participated in Eliza and the Swans)

2pm - 4pm
New members (including those who have previously performed with us before 2018)

We are very grateful to generous private donors who ensure that participation is free of charge. 

Creative Team

Paul Fincham composer
Paul started composing at an early age, composed a rock opera at school and went on to read music at Cambridge University where he was music director of Cambridge Footlights. He returned to composing in 2012, focusing on film and choral music. His score for Norman Gregory's award-winning film A Reason to Leave won the Best Original Score Award at the London International Filmmakers' Festival in February 2017 and he has been commissioned to write choral works by the London Philharmonic Choir and the British Museum. His first Christmas carol, Ring the Bells, was premiered by the London Philharmonic Choir under Toby Purser at the Royal Albert Hall in December 2017 and is being published by Boosey and Hawkes.