Duncan trained as a singer at the Royal College of Music and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire before serving as a senior officer in the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy while also pursuing a musical career. He was for several years principal baritone of Opera South West and also conducted several productions in major venues including Plymouth’s Theatre Royal. He was also a regular soloist with the Royal Marine Bands. Until recently he was Patron of the Davison Young Musicians Awards which provided financial support for promising musicians aged 16 to undergraduate to support their music tuition and also to provide instruments to young people who could otherwise not afford them; producing a winner of the Eisteddfod and BBC Young Musician of the Year. He was founder Director of the Ledward Centre, one of Brighton Fringe’s venues which also hosts Fringe Participant Services where his passion for the Fringe was enthused further by meeting the team. He was the Founding Chair of the Equality Alliance which brought together groups from a wide variety of organisations supporting minorities in order to share ideas and support. He is a leading figure campaigning for LGBTQ+ inclusion. Duncan has a great experience on the boards of commercial and non-Governmental organisations.
On joining the board:
“The success of a nation is not just judged by its prowess on the sports field but by its thriving artistic and cultural life, yet funding has been poor for decades and now the aftermath of Covid will continue to cause financial difficulty. At whatever level one performs or is involved with the arts it is life-enriching and has a transformational impact on people; breaking down barriers, helping to see others’ points of view and sharing in a joint creative endeavour. Brighton Fringe with its roots firmly in the local community, its Academy and bursary scheme reaches thousands of people locally while having an international impact. As we emerge from the pandemic we need to hold on to the strength of our foundations while finding new ways of supporting this invaluable work by developing new income streams in this hostile financial climate and broadening our reach to vulnerable communities and minorities.”
How do you hope to impact Brighton Fringe going forward?
“Having taken early retirement I will be able to offer significant time to support our enthusiastic and dedicated staff team and to visit venues across the city. I am passionate about ensuring that Brighton Fringe is even more diverse and inclusive and breaks down the barriers which divide our communities. I will listen to our stakeholders and provide strong leadership while pursuing every avenue to secure the ethos of Brighton Fringe on a strong financial footing with a sound strategic vision so that our vital role in the nation’s cultural life and local community is secured and can thrive."