Opera North Careers Guidance

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Opera North is a national opera company based in Leeds, and is a leading UK arts organisation. Rooted in the North of England.

Opera North are providing a variety of arts organisation focussed employability materials offering sector insight, and discussing the associated skills and roles.

CV Advice


There is no right or wrong way to format a CV, and elements of individuality can be effective, but always format dates, operas and organisations in a way that can be scanned easily (i.e. columns/tables/headed sections etc) avoiding long paragraphs with extensive lists of repertoire/ experience. Your guiding principle is that important information should be seen easily in the few minutes a panel actually gets to look at it, making it easy for them to scan the info and see more of your audition. There is an equally short time frame when looking through hundreds of CV's to shortlist for audition in the first place. So make sure dates and repertoire can be seen at-a-glance to help the panel find out quickly what you want them to know about you. I would suggest setting the document over two pages with, primarily, professional experience listed on the front page and education/awards/masterclasses on the back page for context. In this way you can space out the information and format to give most prominence to what you want to draw most attention to. When printing, double-side the document so there’s no risk of pages separating.

Photo & Summary Paragraph

Include a thumbnail headshot on the front page as a visual reference (there’s always the risk photos can be misplaced if sent separately, especially on busy audition days with lots of applicants in the building). Often photos are the only way to trigger the memory if you’ve heard 40 people that day and want to quickly recall a candidate in panel discussions. The summary paragraph can be made relevant to whoever you are applying (and would change as you draw focus to different experience/repertoire). You might also add future engagements here. This is not a biography, but a concise summary of where you’ve come from and what you’re doing now, giving context about you and your journey. Make sure your contact details and voice type are clear above this paragraph next to your thumbnail headshot.


Formatting can be affected when sending your CV, so I would suggest using Word 2016 (or later) and/or Office 365 to maintain the original formatting when making future amends. Always save and send as a PDF when contacting companies however, avoiding formatting changes and photo file sizes clogging email inboxes etc.


Note that the CV should be a fluid document, updated every year and/or with any significant change. Things will eventually slip off in place of more recent or relevant experience and some sections may be given more prominence or new headings created etc. Remember to date your new CV by month in the file name so you are always amending the most recent version and can easily reference previous versions if needs be. You may also consider having a ‘master’ CV, one you never send out, but which has everything you’ve ever done, so you can easily copy and paste into future versions of the CV if those things are of relevance to a particular application.

Career/Role Case Studies within an Arts Organisation

Opera North provide case studies/interviews from a variety of their employees, detailing their roles and the skills required to work within the sector.

Access their full video interviews here.

About Opera North

Opera North is a national opera company based in Leeds, and is a leading UK arts organisation. Rooted in the North of England, international in outlook, we create extraordinary experiences, every day.

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