Skip to main content

Website navigation

Seasonal Roles

The Garsington Opera Festival produces performances typically from the end of May until the end of July. To facilitate the running of the festival, we employ a number of seasonal staff every year in a number of varied positions, from singers on stage and back stage crew to music staff and stewards. Find out more about the roles we recruit for each year, and how to apply, below.


Guest singers
How to apply: Email your CV and links to recent recordings to

We don’t hold general auditions very frequently, and it’s impossible to hear everyone who contacts us, but your materials will be reviewed by our casting consultants, and we will invite you for a specific audition if we feel we have an appropriate opportunity for you. If you do not live in the UK but have plans to be in London, please let us know as early as possible so that we can try to arrange to hear you while you are in the country rather than you needing to make a special trip.

Chorus, small roles and covers
Application date: late summer
How to apply: Via our website or YAPTracker

Our chorus consists of members of our young artist programme who cover the principal roles for each opera (with the exception of a very few guest artists for specific covers) and sing small roles as appropriate. Applications should be submitted online during the late summer / early autumn – keep an eye on our website for summer 2025 (recruitment for summer 2024 is now complete). Note that videos are required as part of your application. About half the applicants are selected for live audition in September/October each year.

Music staff
How to apply: Email your CV and any relevant recordings of your work to: Head of Music, Jonathon Cole-Swinard at

We recruit seasonal repetiteurs, assistant conductors, and language coaches for each production. Whilst we do have a regular pool of freelance music staff, we are always keen to hear from UK-based artists who wish to work with us. Please note that repetiteurs need prior professional opera experience, and assistant conductors are usually required to have sufficient keyboard skills to play in rehearsal or accompany their own coachings. Recruitment takes place 18 months in advance. These positions are now filled for 2024 & 2025.

Assistant Directors
How to apply: Email your CV to Director of Artistic Administration, Michelle Williams at

We have one assistant director per production who is responsible for the book, preparing covers and performance duty. Some professional experience (ideally with a professional chorus) is essential. Recruitment usually takes place 18 months to a year in advance; these positions are filled for 2024.

Company Management
How to apply: Vacancies will be advertised on the Jobs page of the website when recruitment is open.

In addition to our Company Manager and Deputy Company Manager each season we look to appoint an Assistant Company Manager.  The seasonal paid position runs from April – July each year to assist with rehearsal scheduling and the administration of performances and artistic personnel. The Assistant Company Manager is an entry-level position, although some former experience in an arts organisation would be desirable. Recruitment usually takes place in January each year.

How to apply: Email your CV and a one-page summary of why you want to observe rehearsals to Director of Artistic Administration, Michelle Williams at

We are keen to provide opportunities for young conductors and directors to witness the creative process at first hand. Commitment for an entire rehearsal period is required for directors whereas there may be more flexibility for conductors.

Production & Technical

Our technical and production teams work with us on a seasonal basis, with contracts running from the end of April/early May, until the end of July.

There are a variety of roles within each department – from managers to recent graduates and even some placement positions for current students.

How to apply: Email your CV to Technical Director, Steve Hawkins at

Stage Management 
Garsington Opera work with a separate Stage Management team for each of the four productions. Each team is comprised of Stage Manager, Deputy Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager.

The Stage Manager oversees all onstage and backstage action involving the cast/performers during rehearsals, technical rehearsals and performances as well as liaising with the technical and creative teams on all aspects of the show.

The Deputy Stage Manager is responsible for creating the Book during rehearsals and calling the show once on stage. They are also responsible for compiling and distributing rehearsal and show reports.

The Assistant Stage Manager works closely with the stage manager to ensure the smooth running of rehearsals and performances. They also have some responsibility for props and scene changes during the show – dependent upon the production.

Working alongside a Lighting Designer and Production Electrician, we engage a lighting team on a seasonal basis. This team is made up of a Chief LX, a Deputy LX, and two LX Assistants.

During fit-up, the LX team is responsible for rigging of generic and intelligent fixtures as well as any practical units or installations into the sets. They supervise the technical rehearsals and work on change-overs between performances.

Responsibilities also range beyond the stage, with the department looking after installation and maintenance of the exterior lighting of the pavilion building, and the wider grounds.

Costume and Wardrobe 
Garsington Opera have separate Costume and Wardrobe teams who work closely together to produce, source and manage the costumes across the four productions. The Costume team is responsible for the making, hiring and altering of all costumes for the productions, including fittings during rehearsals.

Responsibility passes to the Wardrobe team when rehearsals move from the studio to the stage. The team is made up of a Wardrobe ManagerDeputy, and three Assistants. The team is responsible for daily setting, costume changes during the show as well as maintenance where necessary.

Wigs, Hair, and Make-up
The WHAM team is responsible for the wigs, hair, and make-up for all performers across all four productions, including quick-changes during performances. Work levels/days vary depending on the different demands of each production.

The team is made up of a WHAM ManagerDeputy, and two Assistants.

The props department make and source props for each production during rehearsals, with some items normally being finalised during Tech rehearsals on stage. Garsington Opera have the use of a large Props workshop on the Wormsley estate, and each show is managed by a different prop supervisor.

The stage team is comprised of two departments: Stage technicians and the Stage turnaround team (stage crew). Garsington Opera productions are performed in Rep, with daily turnarounds between different shows.

The seven members of the turnaround team, led by the Head of Changeovers, are responsible for the daily turnaround of sets and other technical elements between shows.

The Six Stage Technicians work alongside the Stage Management teams during technical rehearsals and performances. They finalise the stage setting, assist with scene changes, backstage cues, and/or interval set changes.

The production team is comprised of Production Manager(s) and a Production Co-ordinator. They work closely with the Technical Director to realise the technical needs of all four of the productions. The team liaise with the creative teams during rehearsals and the technical team onsite to ensure that all productions are produced to a high standard and run both smoothly and safely.

Front of House & Household

Car Parking Stewards
How to Apply: Email Seasonal Staff Manager, Fran Hollywood at

The car parking stewards direct Patrons to car park areas. Stewards must be over 16 and shifts are usually between 3-6pm and 9.30-11pm and paid at an hourly rate.

Programme Sellers
How to Apply: Email Seasonal Staff Manager, Fran Hollywood at

Programme sellers are on hand before each performance to sell programmes to Patrons. Shifts are usually between 3-6pm and paid a fixed rate per shift.

How to Apply: Email Seasonal Staff Manager, Fran Hollywood at

Our ushers are vital in helping Patrons finding their seats and watch the performance to allow them to deal with any issues that may arise. Pre-performance they assist in stewarding being on-hand to give any necessary directions to Festival Patrons. Ushers are typically required from 3pm-10.15pm and are voluntary positions.