Show Profiles

John Cushing


Producer and Director, John’s early talent in the theatre was noticed at Gresham School, Holt. Aged 12 he directed and produced the junior school pantomime, “Aladdin”. At senior school he was assistant stage manager for the house play, progressing to stage manager. He became managing director of the Thursford Collection in 1976 and with no formal musical or theatrical training has seen the Christmas Show audience grow from 500 to over 130,000. In 2007 he opened a “Christmas Fantasy Land” for children which attracted nearly 50,000 adults and children in its first year.

Benjamin Ellin

Musical Director and Conductor. Award winning British conductor and composer Benjamin Ellin is also Principal Conductor of the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director of Focus Opera. In recent seasons Benjamin has performed with the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestre National de Lille, Shanghai Opera house Orchestra, Gunma Symphony Orchestra (Japan), St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Montpellier and Luxembourg Philharmonic amongst others.

Tracey Iliffe

Choreographer – Tracey performed in various musical in the UK, and in Paris at the Moulin Rouge and Lido de Paris. Tracey is an experienced choreographer who works with production companies worldwide. Her choreography covers all styles of dance and theatre and she has been involved in productions ranging from traditional theatre to corporate work to individual events created for a specific client. Tracey is delighted to become a part of the Thursford Creative Team.

Peter Savidge

Casting Director – Peter, who studied at Cambridge and the Guildhall, is one of Britain’s leading baritones, singing principal roles with Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, throughout Europe, Australia, the Middle and Far East and the Americas. This year he has appeared with Opera North as ‘Sharpless’ in “Madame Butterfly” and with Rome Opera as ‘Theseus’ in Britten’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. He has also made a recording of a new oratorio, Prayerbook by David Owen Norris. He is a Professor of Voice at The Royal College of Music.

Jonathan Smith

Music Orchestrator - Jonathan comes from Gunthorpe and went to school at Fakenham. After service with the Coldstream Guards as a Band Sergeant Major he prepared music for Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh and the John William’s “Star Wars Saga”. In France he publishes music, teaches, conducts and solos for the Brass Band Leman Mont Blanc. He writes all the music arrangements and maintains the Museum’s archive libraries.

Stephen Adnitt

Designer - Stephen graduated from the Royal College of Art and worked in fashion in the UK and abroad. He then went into entertainment and worked on many dramas, situation comedies and light entertainment productions including
Fire and Ice, an ice ballet with Torvill and Dean; numerous Royal Variety performances; the original Gladiators; Blind Date; Britain's Got Talent Finals and Dancing On Ice.
He has also designed numerous costumes for Dame Edna Everage working in the UK, Australia and on Broadway New York. A Dame Edna costume is a permanent exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
He is delighted to be part of the creative team on this his first Christmas Spectacular at Thursford.

Become part of the Christmas Spectacular

If you feel you have the creative flare, talent and personality to join the Christmas production team here at Thursford we would be delighted to hear from you. Email us

01328 878477