Our mission is to empower people through performance

We devise and deliver innovative learning  projects to young people, schools, adults and communities.  Using opera as a launch pad, we create stimulating opportunities that integrate music drama, dance and design.


Our programmes encourage collaboration and challenge individuals to work together, to explore their own creativity and to think about themselves in new ways.   We work alongside designers, musicians and choreographers to bring together the best possible creative groups to lead our projects.


From one-off workshops to week-long residencies, our projects can be devised for a wide range of groups. From team-building workshops for new recruits in the workplace, to creating an operatic piece from scratch with 80 children in 5 days, we deliver transformational learning programmes that empower through performance.


  • Karen is a freelance opera director and outreach facilitator, and is creative director of Garsington Opera Learning & Participation. Karen trained as a director and performer at both Manchester Metropolitan University & on The Knack at English National Opera.  She has the ability to engage with diverse groups from all backgrounds, and is equally at home working with a handful of young people or a crowd of 200 adults.

    Karen recently directed A Trip to the Moon at LSO Barbican with Sir Simon Rattle, Silver Birch at Garsington Opera, Beautiful World at the National Theatre, Abu Dhabi and Hospital Passion Play at London’s V&A. 

    Karen was co-artistic director of the Royal Opera House’s Youth Opera Company for nine years and has worked with all the major UK opera and arts companies on productions ranging from a celebration of the Magna Carta at the Royal Albert Hall to directing the opening of Worldskills at the O2 London, to a tour of women’s prisons with Welsh National Opera.

    Artistic Director

    Karen Gillingam

  • Susan is a UK freelance producer with extensive experience in arts management.   As Director of Opera Planning at Garsington Opera for 17 years, she was part of a small team which took the organisation from a small start up to one of the leading British operatic companies.

    With a Bachelor of Education and Music degree from Homerton College, Cambridge University, Susan has a passion for outreach and learning projects.   As Director of Performing Arts at the opening of Cranleigh School, Abu Dhabi, she was responsible for managing their outstanding arts centre and creating an outreach programme.


    Susan initiated the much acclaimed Beautiful World project in 2016 which drew the attention of the UAE Ministry of Culture and was awarded the Middle East Arts Programme of the Year 2017.  As Director of Learning for the Grange Festival in Hampshire, she is launching a year round programme of workshop and residencies in local schools, higher education and community groups.   

    In 2018, Performability returns to the UAE to produce a second operatic project Water in the Desert commission by Cranleigh, the UAE Ministry of Tolerance and in association with New York University Abu Dhabi.

    Executive Director

    Susan Hamilton



In partnership with musicians, designers and choreographers, Performability has worked with diverse communities from across the world



Susan Hamilton, Executive Director

+44 7973 562979  |

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