Our Community Partnerships project aims to strengthen our relationship with the local community in Leeds and beyond and to open up our wonderful art form to people who may have barriers which would usually prevent them from engaging with us.

Encore scheme

Encore is a scheme for community groups and organisations that seeks to find new ways to open up our work to everyone, whatever their circumstances and whatever barriers they encounter to engaging fully with the arts.

With more than 70 groups and organisations in the scheme, members are offered free or heavily subsidised tickets to our work in Leeds, plus access to workshops, taster performances and invitations to bespoke events. Since it began in 2013, the Encore community scheme has welcomed more than 13,000 attendees to our performances.

“You are brilliant because you try and make things bespoke to people’s needs and THAT is what works. We love the care, thought and attention you have given to us through your work.”

– Staff Member, St Augustine’s Centre, Halifax

Encore event, part of Opera North's Community Engagement programme © Tom Arber

The Men of the Chorus of Opera North performing at PAFRAS © Tom Arber

Encore Plus Partners

Our Encore Plus Partners come to planning meetings, receive exclusive offers, and are given the opportunity to host taster workshops and performances in their own venues, as well as being invited to take advantage of discounted tickets to our performances at Leeds Grand Theatre and in the Howard Assembly Room.

Our 2022 partners are Lychee Red, which runs a singing group for older people from the Chinese community; Pyramid of Arts which offers art activities and artist development schemes for adults living with a disability; Richmond Hill Elderly Action which provides support and activities for older adults; VISC (Visually Impaired Social Club), which collectively organises social activities by and for blind people and people living with a visual impairment; The Refugee Council – Resettlement Team which supports people seeking asylum who have just arrived in the UK, and PAFRAS (Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) which supports people in Leeds seeking asylum or appealing a refusal.

Taster performances

Taking our work out of the theatre and into community settings gives us a way to creatively introduce our work and productions to the people we meet as part of the project. These workshops and taster performances are often hosted by our Encore Plus Partners, but are also offered to other Encore groups and to communities with whom we are keen to engage.

“As a Chinese community group, many of us have never been to Opera North before. When we were invited to watch the Introduction to Alcina show, we thought it could be challenging to understand the performance because of the language barriers. But we had a great time in the end. We all enjoyed the performance and had a lot of laughter and interactions with the actors. We are looking forward to our next trip already.”

– Huazhu Liu, Community Project Worker at Health For All, Leeds

Whistle Stop Opera being performed at St. Augustine's, one of Opera North's 2021 Community Partners

Audience members enjoying the 2021 dementia friendly performance of Bizet's Carmen © Ant Robling


We’re committed to making our work accessible to ensure that everyone can enjoy a high-quality theatre experience.

Find useful information on our Access section about our upcoming audio-described, captioned, signed and relaxed/ dementia friendly performances, services and partner venues to help plan your visit.

“I just wanted to let you know how good the audio description was last night.  The explanation of what was being sung, along with everything else was really really good and just right in my opinion.”

– Audience Member, 2022 Carmen

Arts Together

Opera North also administrates Arts Together, an 87-strong network of arts and community organisations in the Company’s home city of Leeds and surrounding areas.

Arts Together brings together the region’s cultural offer and works to ensure everyone gets the chance to experience the life-enhancing benefits interaction with the arts can give.

It was an amazing lesson and I really, really loved it. Thank Una again, she is amazing! And really draws out the creativity like unravelling a map!

– Participant, Arts Together zine making workshop

The Arts Together Summer Party brings everyone together to celebrate the arts © Tom Arber

Get in touch

For more information, please contact Zoe Scott FitzGibbon or Tiph Kelly-Mancaux:
Email: Zoe.ScottFitzGibbon@operanorth.co.uk

The Community Partnerships scheme was originally set up with a generous gift from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.


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