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John Payne

Cultural Producer

John has always been passionate about classical music, and is proud that two of his children took up playing the piano, trombone and ‘cello while at school (and still like playing as adults). He enjoys going to concerts at the City Hall and Crucible but travels far and wide to see new productions of operas he is keen on, particularly the operas of Richard Wagner. He is currently Chair of the Manchester Wagner Society.


John worked as a development project manager and country director for the British Council in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East until 2017, and among other responsibilities held country roles in the management of arts events. He was awarded an OBE in 2007 for services to cultural relations and education in East and West Africa. He started life as a secondary school teacher in English Literature and graduated with an honours degree from Jesus College, Cambridge, also studying for a PGCE at Goldsmiths College London.


John is a grandfather, Churchwarden, and is currently Chair of Governors of two local federated primary schools. He is also very interested in issues around climate change and sustainability and is both a trustee of a small village community organisation focusing on sustainability, and a trustee of the national ‘Green Christian’ charity, as well as being the voluntary coordinator of their ‘Joy in Enough’ project, and a Trustee of the Derby Diocese Board of Education. He is also active in his local Green Party Branch

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