Mark Burns grew up in Buxton and was involved in many of the Festival’s education projects as a child and from there grew his love of opera. Mark then went on to train at the Royal Northern College of Music and now works extensively as a Director and Assistant and has a keen interest in opera education regularly working with The Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, ETO, Opera North, Royal Academy Opera, Fulham Opera, Bury Court Opera, Opera Danube, Grimeborn and Wigmore Hall with directors such as Daisy Evans, Julia Burbach, Caroline Clegg and Justin Way. Recent productions include assisting Robert Carsen’s Olivier Award- nominated Dialogues des Carmélites, which included an on-stage ensemble of over seventy members of the public as part of a six-month professional development project for the Royal Opera. Mark recently directed The Pirates of Penzance for Ormond Opera and La Cenerentola for the London Young Sinfonia. Future projects include directing Parsifal for Elemental Opera and Madama Butterfly for Ormond Opera. Mark is also Artistic Director of The Opera Box, a new company producing operas with small casts and staged song-cycle repertoire. Their first production will take place in London this September with the Totally Thames Festival.