Director, DARE: Opera North and University of Leeds
Partnerships Director, Opera North
Freelance partnerships consultant
A proud and committed Northerner, Les is a fervent advocate for the ability of the region’s cultural sector to work together to achieve success beyond that of working alone. Les joined Cap-a-Pie’s board in 2016.
Whilst commercial director at Opera North, Les led the creation of the DARE partnership with the University of Leeds, now past its first decade and described by Mission, Models, Money as ‘An exemplar of visionary and far-reaching collaboration’. She also led the communications and private fundraising campaign for the £32m Transformation capital project, which provided the springboard for DARE and other mutually beneficial partnerships with organisations including Yorkshire Bank.
Now a freelance consultant on developing partnerships in the cultural sector, Les’ projects include creating and implementing Opera North’s Higher Education Strategy – the first of its kind; managing the development of Culture Forum North, a network of partnerships between HE and the cultural sector across the North; and creating the country’s first Fellowships in Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, and Fellowships in Music Education.
Her earlier professional years were spent in communications and product management at Bass and Coloroll before moving to the cultural sector as communications director at Eureka! the museum for children in Halifax and the National Media Museum in Bradford, during which time she led the creation of a collaboration between national museums and attractions across Yorkshire, which continues to thrive today.
Originally from Middlesbrough, Les now lives with her partner in Halifax, where she enjoys walking up hills, as long as there’s a good pub and warm fire at the top.