Meet the team

John Cushing OBE – Producer and Director

John has been producing and directing every year since 1977. The show which has been televised by the BBC three times for National TV, is completely new every year with over 80 pieces of music and has been seen by nearly 4 million people. The hugely successful “Christmas Fantasy Land”, which opened in 2007, was also another one of his initiatives. He is the CEO of the Thursford Collection, running the whole complex as a visitor attraction through the summer months.

Benjamin Ellin – Musical Director and Conductor

Award-winning British conductor and composer, Benjamin is currently Music Director of Slaithwaite Philharmonic, Focus Opera, Tafahum and President of Pembroke Academy. This seasons highlights include the world premiere of his oratorio ONE BEFORE ZERO in Amiens, France, to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. He will also lead the Slaithwaite Philharmonic in their 125th Anniversary season and will appear on stage with conducting engagements across Europe, Canada and Asia.

Tracey Iliffe – Choreographer

Tracey is originally form Cleethorpes and trained at Laine Theatre Arts. As a performer she appeared in various musicals before living in Paris for 5 years and working at the Moulin Rouge and Lido de Paris. Tracey’s choreography credits include Celebrity Cruise Line, P&O, Carnival, Sensatori and many others.

Peter Savidge – Casting Director

Peter, who studied at Cambridge and GSMD, has sung on opera stages and in concert halls worldwide, and in the UK at Covent Garden, Welsh National and Scottish National operas. Particularly associated with Opera North in Leeds, he is currently appearing in a new production of Britten’s Billy Budd in Leeds and on tour. He is a Professor of Voice at the Royal College of Music.

Jonathan Smith – Musical Orchestrator

Jonathan celebrates over 30 years on the show writing all the musical arrangements and orchestrations. A Norfolk lad from Gunthorpe, he completed 24 years service with the Coldstream Guards as a Band Sergeant Major before going on to prepare music for Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh and the John William’s “Star Wars Saga”.

Stephen Adnitt – Designer

Stephen studied at the Royal College of Art and has worked in fashion worldwide. His work includes numerous Royal Variety Performances, Gladiators and Britain’s Got Talent. He has designed costumes for Cilla Black and Dame Edna Everage and Broadway shows, and has worked with Torvill and Dean on the Fire and Ice TV special and Dancing on Ice for which he received a Royal Television Society award.

Become part of the Christmas Spectacular Team

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 to find out more.