We are delighted to welcome Gus Christie as a Patron of BFC.
Gus Christie, grandson of John Christie and Audrey Mildmay, Founders of the Glyndebourne Festival, became Executive Chairman of Glyndebourne in 2000, taking over from his father, George Christie
He took over a healthy and robust organisation and has overseen a significant increase in Glyndebourne’s turnover.
Gus graduated from King’s College, London with a degree in zoology. He worked in various theatres before working as a cameraman for Partridge Films from 1989–91. He went freelance in 1991 and worked on various natural history documentaries.
His interest in natural history sparked an ambition to develop an environmental strategy for Glyndebourne. In 2004 Gus spearheaded a project to build a 67 metre wind turbine at Glyndebourne to power the opera house via renewable energy. The project has been a resounding success, producing, on average, the equivalent of 102% of the organisation’s annual electricity requirements. Gus oversees other environmental initiatives and is active in enabling Glyndebourne to achieve its long-term ambition of becoming carbon neutral.
Under his leadership, Glyndebourne has led the way in taking opera to a wider audience using digital innovation and technology. In 2007 Glyndebourne became the first UK opera house to screen its productions in cinemas. Since then, through ground-breaking work with artists and media partners such as the BBC, SkyArts, Daily Telegraph and a range of international and online broadcasters, Glyndebourne has extended the reach of its productions through international television and live online broadcasts. Glyndebourne productions are available on DVD and Blu-ray and a number of video-on-demand online platforms.
Gus has also championed Glyndebourne’s renowned opera education department which celebrated its
30th anniversary in 2016. Its year-round activity includes Performances for Schools; Glyndebourne Youth Opera, a community-based music and dementia project, ‘Raise Your Voice’, and pre-performance talks and events. The department also stage regular youth and community operas on Glyndebourne’s main stage – recent examples include Agreed, Nothing, Imago, Zoë, Cosi Hip H’opera and Knight Crew.
Facing the unprecedented challenges of 2020, Gus led his team in bringing to fruition a socially-distanced production, In the Market for Love, a new translation of Offenbach’s Mesdames de la Halle, which was performed in the Glyndebourne gardens to great acclaim in August 2020. A fascinating documentary was produced on the making of the production, Glyndebourne: No Ordinary Summer. The 2021 Festival will go ahead together with the good wishes of BFC members, many of whom are regular attenders or work front of house.
The occasions that BFC have performed and rehearsed at Glyndbourne have always been truly special and we hope that, as the Sussex-wide arts scene flourishes anew in the post pandemic world, we will sing there once more.