In my youth I sang very seriously and was a member of the National Youth Theatre in the 1970s where I quickly realised the limitations of both my talent and ego. My best-ever critique appeared in the South China Morning Post (“Jane Ainger was very convincing, I think, as the lumpen maid”). Happily, I always loved being behind-the-scenes and remember sending away for careers information on Arts Administration. After an English degree, two years teaching in Hong Kong and a return to university for an MBA, I joined a management consultancy having failed to convince anybody in the Arts to give me a job. Working with blue chip companies gave me some credentials and I then worked for Business in the Arts, pairing young high flyers with arts organisations to work on a specific management task (to their mutual benefit) and neatly pairing up with my husband at the Almeida Theatre, having persuaded his company to help me open an office in Scotland. Finally I was ready for a job in the arts proper and became Head of Development at the London Symphony Orchestra, highlights of which were the Festival of Britten, Berlioz’ Les Troyens conducted by Sir Colin Davis and page-turning for Rostropovich at the Russian Embassy.
I then lived overseas with my husband in Venezuela and Kuwait, eventually returning to London with two children. One fateful night a friend introduced me to Simon Over at the Royal Opera House, resulting in ten very happy years here at Southbank Sinfonia.
More than anything, I enjoy enabling creative people to make things happen. I love the theatre and am very excited by our work with the National - and now the Bridge. Another big thing in my life is poetry (currently Larkin) and beautifully written novels that read like poetry. Oh and the North Yorkshire Coast.
What do you love about classical music?
Despite my love of other art forms, it takes you to places that they simply cannot reach.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
Rostropovich borrowed my deodorant.