Sussex Opera and Ballet Society (SOBS) has its roots in Glyndebourne.  Joan Liddle, the Workers’ Educational Society Organiser for East Sussex, arranged lectures about the operas being performed in the Opera House and the talks were held in Glyndebourne’s Organ Room at the kind invitation of its founder, John Christie.  This led to the formation of SOBS in 1974.  Sir George Christie became the Founder President and remained so for 23 years.  SOBS continues its close associations with Glyndebourne as over 100 members regularly attend the annual Glyndebourne on Tour performances through the SOBS group bookings arrangement. 

Members share an interest in opera and ballet by meeting for lunchtime talks, master classes and recitals.  Some events are shared with Eastbourne Arts Circle which was formerly the Friends of the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne.  The majority of lunchtime meetings are held on a Saturday or Sunday in Eastbourne at the Hydro Hotel and take the form of a two course lunch followed by the talk in question with the option of attending the talk only.  Occasionally these events are arranged in other local venues.  Ballet and Opera Master Classes are held in Eastbourne College’s Birley Centre and Recitals are arranged either there or at some other location in Eastbourne.  For these meetings, tea and coffee are served in the interval.

Guests are welcome at most events but pay slightly more as non-members. 

Guest speakers have included Dame Beryl Grey, Sir Edwards Downes, Sir Jonathan Miller, Sir Peter Wright, Kevin O’Hare, Wayne Sleep, Barry Wordsworth, Philip Gammon, Marguerite Porter, Elaine Padmore (Opera Director ROH), David Syrus (Head of Voice, Royal Opera) and both Gus Christie and David Pickard from Glyndebourne.  Master classes include those given by: Doreen Wells, Marion Tait, and Benjamin Luxon, and occasionally established singers such as Felicity Lott have given recitals.

SOBS is also an educational charity and to this end awards annual bursaries to young singers and dancers as well as encouraging them generally by offering recital and performance opportunities.  Singers, such as Ailish Tynan, are usually from the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College Music and dancers including Darcy Bussell and Marianela Nunez from the Royal Ballet have also performed for SOBS as students.

There will be a warm welcome if you join the Society and for membership information please go to the relevant page on this website.  


Future events will be held on: 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Please see the News and Events page for further details.