Alumnae elected Honorary Fellows

21 June 2023

Katie Mitchell OBE (1983) and Helen Mountfield KC (1986) have been elected Honorary Fellows of Magdalen College.

Katie Mitchell is an English theatre and opera director who studied English Literature at Magdalen. She has directed over 100 productions in her career working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and The Royal Court, and has been an Associate Director at all three organisations. In opera she has directed for English National Opera, Glyndebourne Opera, Welsh National Opera, and the Royal Opera House.

Her many awards include two Time Out awards, The Evening Standard best director award, and a Tonic award for her representations of woman and nurture of female talent. She was presented with the Order of the British Empire in 2009 and the British Academy’s President’s Medal in 2017 for her services to theatre.

Katie is currently Professor of Theatre Directing at Royal Holloway University and a Visiting Lecturer on Theatre Directing at Columbia University. She has taught theatre directing at many of the leading drama schools in the UK and Europe and is a Cultural Fellow at Kings College and the TORCH Visiting Fellow in Theatre at Oxford University.

“To be elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College is an enormous privilege,” says Katie. “The appointment will allow me to continue my relationship to the University following on from my roles as the TORCH Visiting Fellow in Theatre and the Visiting Professor of Opera, but this time I will have the huge pleasure of shaping a unique link with my alma mater Magdalen.

“I look forward to being part of the community of fellows at Magdalen and to supporting the cultural and arts programme of the college.”

I look forward to being part of the community of fellows at Magdalen and to supporting the cultural and arts programme of the college

Katie Mitchell OBE

Helen Mountfield KC is a barrister, founder member of Matrix Chambers, and the Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford. She studied Modern History at Magdalen from 1986-1989. Helen is a well-known specialist in constitutional law, human rights, and equality law, with particular experience in the education sector, who has appeared in many significant cases in the Supreme Court, Privy Council European Court of Justice, and European Court of Human Rights, and has given evidence to a number of parliamentary Select Committees on human rights law, election law, and constitutional law.

She was a recorder on the Midlands Circuit and deputy judge of the High Court and is now a judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey and the Qatar International Commercial District Court. She is also a Master of the Bench of Gray’s Inn and features on the ‘First Hundred Years’ website which celebrates the history of women in law. 

Helen is a trustee of Index on Censorship and an Ambassador for Frontline Aids. She co-chaired the Independent Commission on the Future of Work with Lord Watson in 2016-2017; was an advisor to Lord Hodgson’s Review of the Transparency of Lobbying Act Review in 2016, and was a member of the Royal Society of Arts’ Commission on Drugs Policy. She has served as a trustee of a number of charities, including the Equal Rights Trust, the Institute for the Future of Work, the National Campaign for the Arts, Birthrights, and as a school governor.

Katie and Helen will be formally admitted as Fellows later in the year.