The Witchfinder Team

Nicola Wydenbach

Nicola is a graduate of the RCM where she was supported by a scholarship from Diva Opera. She has sung for ENO, Opera Rara, Scottish Opera, the Monteverdi Choir, Philharmonia Voices and London Voices. She has performed the roles of Russian Mother and Newspaper seller in Death in Venice at the Aldeburgh and Bregenz Festivals, created the role of Nymph in Ludd and Isis for ROH Education as well as performing the soprano solos for Streetwise Opera Fables.Nicola is an experienced oratorio soloist having worked for societies throughout England. She has sung the Brahms’ Requiem conducted by Sir Neville Marriner. Recent concerts include Rutter’s Magnificat and Mendelsohn’s Hear my Prayer for Parenthesis, Mozart’s Coronation Mass for the Addison singers and Dvorak Mass in D and Bach Cantata 21 for Wymondham Choral Society. Nicola has also premiered a specially commissioned piece by Judith Bingham.

Sharon Eckman

Sharon Eckman is an actor, singer, writer and workshop facilitator, working extensively in theatre, radio and concert in the West End, touring and abroad. Sharon has performed in plays from Arthur Miller to Joe Orton, musicals from Sondheim to Rogers & Hammerstein and many concerts and recordings as a soloist, including three Proms with the John Wilson Orchestra.  As a writer, she won the Time Out Travel Writer of the Year award, her fiction has been published in journals and short and long-listed for several prizes and she is currently working on a novel. In 2015, she received ACE funding to co-create a contemporary opera about Christina Rossetti for Tete a Tete Festival.

As a workshop leader, she has worked with award-winning charity Streetwise Opera ( since 2002.  Other education and community work include The Hub for Clwyd Theatr Cymru,  creating/piloting Herts Music Service’s Music for a Generation project, Lost Chord tours for people with dementia, and Create Arts for young carers. She is also Performance Coach for Serious (

Tom Appleton

Tom Appleton is the Director of Music at Aldeburgh Music Club, Music Director of King’s Lynn Festival Chorus, a ‘Friday Afternoons’ Ambassador, and the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Come and Sing Company. Tom’s musical development began as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral before joining the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. He read Music at the University of York and then spent 10 years performing with the Monteverdi Choir including as a soloist in the 2010 BBC Proms.

In 2019, Tom was Music Director of Giant – A Tree Climbing Concert in the Waltham Forest, London Borough of Culture celebrations and also led 700 Norfolk schoolchildren who formed the Massed Ensemble at the Music for Youth Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. In 2020, Tom presented Rapunzel the Lockdown Pantomime to over 200,000 school children who sang, danced and signed along from schools and homes from Aberdeen to the Isle of White.

Robert Gildon

Robert studied singing at Manhattan School of Music, New York, the Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival and the Britten Pears School. Recent work includes La Belle Hélène (New Sussex Opera), La Fille du Regiment (Opera della luna at Buxton Festival), Moon Hares and The Fairy Queen Project (Orchestra Age of Enlightenment), Merry Widow (Iford Festival), Time Capsule Project (Grange Festival), Manz in Delius’s A Village Romeo and Juliet (New Sussex Opera), Beautiful World Opera and Water in the Desert Projects in Abu Dhabi, Ezra Pound’s Le Testament de Villon (London Contemporary Music Festival) Ariadne auk Naxos and  A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Garsington Opera) He has also performed roles for Opera North, The Opera Group, London Symphony Orchestra, Grange Park Opera, Opera Project, Cambridge Handel Opera, Bampton Classical Opera and Pimlico OPrison Project. He lives in Suffolk with a menagerie of animals and was delighted to be part of the Witchfinder R&D.

Kit Esuruoso

Kit graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2015.

His film, TV and radio credits include AKONI (One Love Films), Dave’s Dead, The Cat of Bubastes, Holding Esther (BBC/Gap Digital), HonestyAutopsy (ITV). His theatre experience includes parts in West Side Story (Royal Exchange), Quantum (Edinburgh Fringe), Creed (workshop),  CleopatraTina (Original West End Cast), Tiger Bay (Wales Millenium Centre), Mark Colvin’s Kidney (Belvoir and Parramatta, Sydney Australia), Show Boat (West End and Sheffield Crucible), The Last Days of Troy (Shakespeare’s Globe). In this production Kit takes the lead role of Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General.

Claire Bessent

Claire’s solo concert work includes Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers at St John’s, Smith Square; Christmas concerts with the City of London Choir at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields and Haydn’s Creation with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the late Sir Philip Ledger, broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Work in opera includes roles with Garsington Opera, Grange Park Opera, Pimlico Opera, New Chamber Opera and British Youth Opera. In 2018, Claire sang with the Opera of Monte Carlo in their production of Britten’s Peter Grimes.

Claire is a deputy with the BBC Singers and has been a regular member of the Choir of the King’s Consort and London Voices. An experienced singing teacher and workshop leader, Claire has worked with various organisations including the Ulster Youth Choir and Streetwise Opera.