Meet the team

Meet the Team

Marylin Johnstone

Founding Artistic Director

Marylin is one of the founders of Wedmore Opera and before stepping down in 2018 has directed all but two of our productions. After a career in theatre and education that has encompassed teaching, working as an actor with West Country Drama in Education Service and with Lemonzest Theatre Company and being an examiner for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, she re-trained as an arts administrator and managed several small-scale arts festivals, including the first Wedmore Arts Festival in 2000.

In 2001 Marylin and Carolyn Doorbar set up noc opera limited and commissioned Mike and Kate Westbrook to write a piece for solo soprano voice and piano. Directed by Marylin, conducted by Carolyn and starring soprano Marie Vassiliou, Cape Gloss: Mathilda’s Story premiered at Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, at the University of Plymouth, in February 2007. Marylin retains her commitment to providing people of all ages with excellent experiences of the arts and recently directed an acclaimed production of Miss Saigon for Sidcot School.

Carolyn Doorbar

Musical Director, Conductor and Co-founder

As a professional flute player, Carolyn trained with leading players Laurie Beers and Douglas Townshend, worked regularly with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and toured with a variety of ensembles in Europe, while also teaching young musicians.

Since 1988, when she picked up a baton for the first time for WO’s production of La Traviata, she has been musical director and conductor for all our productions. She has also conducted other companies productions: Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Brecht’s Threepenny Opera and Kander and Ebbâ’s Cabaret and has composed music for productions of Midsummer Night’s Dream, Under Milk Wood and A Christmas Carol

Judith Blake


From a musical family, Judith developed her love of music, and in particular singing, early, inspired by her grandmother, a singer with The Carl Rosa Opera Company. Judith joined a number of choirs in her native Cumbria including Cockermouth Community Choir and the Castlegate Singers. In Somerset, she has been a member of the Maesbury Singers and Wells Oratorio.

A lover of musicals, Judith was at one time active with Wells Little Theatre but it was when she joined Wedmore Opera in 2007 that her passion for opera was truly ignited – captivated by the company’s dedication to making opera accessible.

Dido and Aeneas marked Judith’s debut as producer, a role in which she enjoyed developing her knowledge and skills.

Mairi Coyle

Director of Opera at the Movies (2016) & The Pirates of Penzance (2017)

Mairi graduated in Theatre Studies from the University of Glasgow and has a PGCE (English & Drama) from the University of Strathclyde. She studied singing with Joan Alexander and Patricia MacMahon and latterly with Mary King.

She has performed with Scottish Opera, Opera Holland Park, Pimlico Opera, G&S Festival Company and Opera on a Shoestring. Roles include Mrs Lovett

(Sweeney Todd) Jenny Company), The Wife (Putting it Together), Sara Jane Moore (Assassins), Old Woman, (Les Miserables(Orpheus in the Underworld), Duchess of Plaza Toro, (The Gondoliers), Pitti-Sing, (The Mikado), Ruth and Kate (The Pirates of Penzance), Melissa (Princess Ida) and Mabel, (Mack and Mabel in Concert).

As a director of work for young people and communities, Mairi has worked for Welsh National Opera, National Theatre, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, National Opera Studio, Scottish Youth Theatre, Music in Hospitals and Perth Theatre among others. She recently directed the premiere of The Pied Piper, a new community opera by Matthew King.

Wedmore Opera Trustees

The Trustees of Wedmore Opera are Neil Blake (Chair), Hazel Anstey (Company Secretary), Judith Blake, Denis Jones, Anne Richards, Phyllida Shaw