EST. 2006

Durham Opera Ensemble (DOE) is a student opera company regularly showcasing some of Britain’s finest student musical talent in and around Durham University.

Durham Opera Ensemble stages three operatic productions each year suitable for young voices with our performances housed in a variety of locations in Durham. Our sizeable Epiphany term production is staged in the professional Gala Theatre and is in conjunction with members of Durham University Orchestral Society. In the Michaelmas term the society puts on a concert made up of a number of operatic arias, duets, and choruses. The summer term’s production staged after exams is usually alfresco, set somewhere within the beautiful University grounds, and provides the society with the opportunity to perform a chamber opera. We believe passionately in giving new opportunities to Durham students, of whom many will not have had the opportunity before to take part in operatic works. We also believe that the Durham student body should be able to experience a rarely produced art form in the North East. The society is championed by our own Chancellor, Sir Thomas Allen, who has offered help and advice to our productions in the past. Interviews for a production team are held a number of months before the show. We look for Directors, Producers, Musical Directors, and if necessary Technical Directors or Choreographers. Auditions for both singers and orchestra follow. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Our contact page contains all relevant contact details and information on our social media outlets.


Members of the Executive Committee are elected by the society to run important aspects of the society for the following year. As the conductors and directors change each term, the Exec are more permanent and have more of a long-term view of the development of the society.

Ashleigh Kate Charlton


Ashleigh is a third-year Music student at St Mary’s College. The aspiring Soprano is a big Opera enthusiast and DOE has played a prominent part in her University life from the moment she arrived. Ashleigh is thrilled to have, once again, taken up the Presidency of Durham Opera Ensemble and has many exciting plans in place for the coming year. She very much looks forward to working with a brand new Exec as we plan our involvement in Opera festivals, masterclasses with world class artists, and another professionally staged production at the Gala Theatre. Alongside indulging in a good Puccini Aria, Ashleigh enjoys photography, baking, and long country walks.

Emily Barnes


Emily is a third-year Music student from Grey college and DOE’s Secretary for this year. She has been involved with DOE since her first year performing roles both on and off stage having most recently been assistant director for the gala show ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. As secretary, Emily is excited to keep up on all DOE admin and can’t wait to pester you with her weekly emails. She is very excited to be on this year’s committee and to be part of continuing the fantastic work of DOE.

George Evans-Thomas


George is a languages student in his second year at Collingwood College. The ensemble has been a big part of his university life so far and he is looking forward to continuing that involvement both as a singer and now as the treasurer. George is excited to be working alongside the rest of the committee, all of whom will do something special for the group. After three brilliant productions last year, DOE’s finances are in good shape, which will allow next year’s programme to be even more ambitious and professional. Don’t miss out on being a part of it!

Peter Dunn

Patrons’ Secretary

Peter is a 3rd year Music student from St Cuthbert’s. Currently learning under Miranda Wright he has been a member of the Durham Opera Ensemble since joining Durham and has performed in three previous productions. Highlights include the role of Peter Quince in Benjamin Britten’s adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Peter also sings with numerous ensembles at University including the Dunelm Consort; a group specialising in renaissance and baroque choral works who most recently performed J.S. Bach’s St John Passion. As well as this Peter is 1st Bass in the Universities Chamber Choir performing a broad range of choral repertoire, ranging from renaissance polyphony to contemporary choral works. Peter is also a member of the Samling Academy and has worked with many leading industry professionals such as renowned teacher, Patricia McMahon and acclaimed Soprano, Lisa Milne. Peter is thrilled about his role as Patrons Secretary and very much looks forward to engaging with current and potential Patrons of the Durham Opera Ensemble.

Llewelyn Cross

Sponsorship Secretary

Llewelyn is a third-year music student at Hatfield College and has been a part of two Gala show productions, Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ and Britten’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, as well as being one of the two Social Secretaries last year. Llewelyn is very excited about sponsorship this year and hopes to be able to garner as much support for DOE as possible for all three productions this year! DOE has been a real highlight of Llewelyn’s time in Durham and he is looking forward to working with this year’s exec.

Emer Acton

Publicity Secretary

Emer is a final year Music student at Hild Bede. She has performed in seven DOE shows so far, including playing principal roles in Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ and Britten’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and this is her third year on the DOE Exec! Emer would like to build on her work from last year and continue to increase DOE’s profile in Durham as well as further afield to ensure that every one of our shows sells out. DOE has been the highlight of Emer’s university career and she hopes that she can use her final year to help to make this year the society’s best yet!

Alabama Jackson

Social Secretary

Alabama is a 2nd year philosophy student from the one and only Hild Bede. When she’s not philosophizing she is organizing mad socials (or Doe-cials, as it were) with her social friend, Rosa. Together, Alabama and Rosa are known as AlaRosa and their job is to ensure the geneeral merriment for members of DOE. Remember: they respect you – not your liver.

Rosa Hirtzel

Social Secretary

Rosa is a second year language student at Collingwood and is one-half of the social sec AlaRosa this year. Looking forward to creating more scanDOElous moments, she can’t wait to welcome in the budding opera stars with fun and frivolity and keep the social scene of the most increDOEble society rolling….remember: AlaRosa respects you, not your liver.

Hannah Cox

Outreach Coordinator

Hannah is a 3rd-year music student and the Outreach Coordinator for another year! Along with her involvement in DOE having performed in 4 shows and directing Mansfield Park in June 2016, she is also the Vice President of Music Durham overseeing all the outreach work that we do in Durham so has exciting plans in store for the next academic year. Last year, DOE  took two memorable trips, firstly to Frankland Prison to sing carols and secondly to Pelton Community Centre to perform scenes of Will Todd’s Alice in Wonderland, ask anyone who went and they will surely say that both trips were incredibly rewarding and not to be forgotten! In addition, Hannah is involved with the Durham University Chamber Choir after being the Assistant Manager last year and Castle as the Chapel Secretary. When she’s not singing or being an admin monkey, Hannah is playing the cello in DUPO, composing or snuggling up with a good book with a cup of Earl Grey. Any questions regarding outreach – send them her way!

Rosie Burgering

Tour Manager

Rosie Burgering is this year’s Tour Manager and is looking forward to getting DOE on the road. She is a second year Music student at St John’s College and has loved balancing her operatic ventures with her degree, chapel choir, and various college music groups. She has performed in three DOE productions in her first year and certainly won’t be stopping there. Rosie is very excited for what is going to be an extremely fun and busy year for DOE.


We would like to sincerely thank our sponsors for their continued support. Every year we find sponsors from the local area and recommend them to you, our audience, for your stay or meal around the time of the opera in Durham. We often go out for meals as a society in return for the sponsorship deal. If you are a company and would be interested in becoming a sponsor of DOE, feel free to contact our Sponsorship Secretary.