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Jeffery Lockett

Founder and Artistic Director of Clonter Opera Theatre

Jeffery Lockett was born into a musical family. His mother, Betty Bannerman was a mezzo-soprano, and his father, Derek Lockett was treasurer and on the court of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.  Jeffery’s parents regularly hosted fundraising concerts in a music room his father created at their home in Cheshire. Jeffery read agriculture at St John’s College, Cambridge before carrying out National Service.  After leaving university he joined the Milk Marketing Board as an agricultural consultant and ran the family Dairy Farm at Swettenham Heath. 

After attending a cattle auction in 1974, he had been impressed by the theatrical aspect of the arena and it inspired him and his wife, Anita, to hold a charity concert in one of the barns. He invited the Abbey Opera Group to bring an evening of operatic excerpts to his farm in Cheshire. A barn full of straw bales was converted for the night into an auditorium and the proceeds went to Cancer Relief. Since then Clonter Opera has expanded to become a 400 fixed seated auditorium with orchestra pit and undercover dining facilities for 400 people. Jeffery project managed every part of the expansion and was actively involved with all the building work.  Anita created the costumes for many of the early concerts and later productions and is still involved with many aspects of production management.  Clonter Farm Music Trust was founded in 1991. 

Jeffery became a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music in 1990; Master of the Musicians’ Company from 1990 to 1991; he was made Member of the British Empire for Services to Music in 2003 and in 2006 Clonter Opera received an MEN Theatre Award.

In 2012 he received a Doctor of Music from the University of Chester in recognition of his outstanding contribution to opera.

”Jeffery Lockett has done more for Opera in Britain than many better known names: an indefatigable and conscientious auditioner, he has started many a singer’s career and Clonter remains the place to see tomorrow’s top talent make its first appearance”

Robert Thicknesse,Opera Now 2011