Open Doors Careers - Glyndebourne Opera House

27th Feb 2024

Glyndebourne landscape

This week we were lucky enough to take part in a fabulous Open Doors visit to Glyndebourne Opera House.  The trip was organised by the East Sussex Open Doors team. Mr Baxter, myself and12 students from Year 9, all with an interest in music, whether, performing, singing, playing an instrument, composing or an interest in some of the behind-the-scenes operational areas, such as lighting, costume/make-up/hair, props or set design were lucky enough to be able to attend.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the Head Usher who directed us into the Ebert Room.  He introduced us to Glyndebourne and spoke to the students about the variety of different roles that make Glyndebourne what it is today 'a world class opera house'.  The students were then treated to a networking event where they split into small groups and were able to speak directly to a member of each of the operational departments, such as HR. Marketing, Finance, Stage Management, Archivist to name a few.  Students were given the opportunity to find out more about what the roles involved.  There were 8 different Glyndebourne employees to speak to, a bell rang when it was time to move on.  The students were engaged and actively participated, asking relevant questions and listening well.  

After the networking session was over, we were given a very detailed guided tour of the site, including a chance to set foot inside the Opera House itself.  Here our guide shared some detail about the amount of performances there are in a year (120), how many seats the auditorium has (1200) and the fact that the whole interior is made of reclaimed pine.  

One student asked why the seats had slats in the bottom and the answer that came was surprising but so interesting ..... when the singers and orchestra rehearse they need to be able to rehearse as if the auditorum was full  - the fabric of people's clothes resonates the sound but when a theatre or auditorium is empty the sound resonance alters, meaning that the projection of a singer voice changes, the slats allow the sound to resonate off of the cushion fabric, therefore creating the impression of a full auditorium during rehearsals!



The tour continued and we were shown back stage, where all of the sets were kept, details were shared about the construction of the sets and length of time it takes to put up and take down a set before and after a performance.  We also saw the dressing rooms and areas that the performers use to get ready, take a break etc.


Next on our visit was a networking opportunity for our students with the teams from lighting, set design, props, costume/hair/makeup and guest relations.  Each department had a stand with examples of equipment used, or props created and students were given the chance to move about the room and interact with members of each department, asking questions and listening to information.  This was a really fun half an hour, with our students really getting stuck in, asking some great questions and enjoying their time immensely.

The final part of the morning was a walk through the building that houses all of the creative teams, we were able to catch glimpses of people making the elaborate wigs, others painting props, designing sets and so much more, it was breathtaking to really understand just what it takes to make these world class operas come to life.

As you would expect, I am proud to report that our students demonstrated our Chailey values expertly and made the very most of the opportunity available to them.

If you'd like to know more about the history of this marvellous place, that is just on our doorstep, click HERE.  Glyndebourne offer many 0 hours contracts to aged 16 and over throughout their festival season, perhaps something to consider for those long summer holidays in the future?

Information about jobs in this sector can be found on Unifrog

(you will need to be signed into Unifrog to access these links)


Prop maker : careers library (

Classical musician : careers library (

Theatre director : careers library (

Wardrobe assistant : careers library (

Casting director : careers library (

Stagehand : careers library (

Music conductor : careers library (

Lighting technician : careers library (

Costume designer : careers library (

Actor : careers library (

Events manager : careers library (

Audio visual technician : careers library (

Music composer and arranger : careers library (

Make-up artist : careers library (

Chailey School endevour to run Open Doors trips very half term, to a variety of different organisations and sectors.  Please complete the expression of interest form to register interest about future trips

Gail Wickens

Careers & Work-Related Learning Coordinator