Meet our production team
Jeff Thomson - Producer/Musical Director
Jeff has been teaching music and drama for 31 years, since studying in Dundee.
Jeff is currently the Principal Teach of Expressive Art at Earlston High School, and Head of Instrumental Instruction Service for Scottish Borders Council. He has also had involvement with the SQA as a Visiting Assessor for 20 years.
Jeff brings over 30 years of producing and musical direction experience to Gala Opera, and now in his 27th year with Gala Opera, we can honestly say that Gala Opera would not be where it is today without him.
As well as being his profession, musical theatre is Jeff's passion. Between School and Operatic Societies, he has produced over 50 shows. Jeff embraces each new show as a fresh challenge, embracing the latest technology in sound, lighting, set design wherever possible.
Jeff's commitment to Gala Opera is commendable and it is a privilege for us to welcome him back this year. This year's production will be no exception, Jeff's creative vision is clear and our audiences are in for a real treat.
Marie McCullough - Choreographer
At the age of 10, Marie was awarded a scholarship to study professionally at Elmhurst Ballet School in Surrey, where she trained for the following nine years. Marie graduated at 19 with a Musical Theatre diploma and teaching qualifications in ISTD Modern & Tap, Spanish Dance, RAD Ballet, LAMDA and ABRSM Singing and piano.
Marie's professional credits include but not limited to; numerous UK tours: Sarah - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Debs - Boogie Nights, the title role in Spirit of the Dance; several London repertory theatre plays, including; Abby - Pleasure Island, Jane -Postcards and Annabel - The Lucky Stiff, and principle girl in a number of Qdos Entertainment's Pantomimes across the UK. A number of TV credits, including; Jamaican Runaway, The Silver Chair and Simply Ballroom, to name just a few.
She has also performed as a soloist dancer with 'Dansez Espagnola' at the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican Theatre, London, as well as appearing as a backing dancer for Puff Daddy at Wembley Arena.
Alongside fellow professional, Katie Robinson, Marie, is the co-founder and Artistic Director of 'Creative Stage', a Border based Performing Arts School. Since 2012, Creative Stage has grown and grown and now enrols over 300 pupils aged between 3 -18. Whether it's acting, singing, dancing or all three, Creative Stage gives its students the opportunity to develop and prepare for a world of Musical Theatre.
We are very honoured to have Marie's vision and talent at Gala Opera. She has choreographed the majority of past 12 Gala Opera and is now about to give Bob Fosse a run for his money. Our dancers and non-dancers can't wait to see what she has in store.
Jennifer Montague - Rehearsal Pianist
Jennifer joins us at every rehearsal and provides additional support to the cast, to ensure we all know what we are singing. Similary to Jeff and Marie, Jennifer has been part of the Gala Opera family for many years now and her time and commitment to the society doesn't go unnoticed, even if she does hide behind the piano sometimes.
Galashiels Amateur Operatic Society committee members for 2018/19 were elected on 14th May 2018.
President - Lynsey Cullen - firstname.lastname@example.org or 07936933735
Vice President- Colette Edie (new for 2018/19)
Secretary - Sheila MacDonald
Treasurer / Business Manager - Andrew Cannon
Booking Manager - Audrey MacDonald
Val Little (new for 2018/19)