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 100 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 14,000 attendees to our performances.

“Just wanted to say a biggest thank you for the tickets this week. The show was absolutely incredible and we all loved the experience of having a night out at such an amazing place. We will all truly treasure the memories. I so want to see it again too; I keep listening to the music!”

– Kim, Touchstone, Leeds

Find out more

Entertaining service users at Richmond Hill Elderly Action © Justin Slee

Little Listeners: Mini Vixen being performed at Leeds Refugee Forum © Ernesto Rogata

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.

Our 2023 partners are Bradford Study Support Network, which promotes social inclusion and learning across all ages and abilities; Burmantofts Senior Action which runs a programme of activities to reduce isolation among older residents; Hyde Park Source which enhances people’s health and wellbeing by improving the local environment; Leeds Refugee Forum which helps refugees and asylum seekers in the city to rebuild their lives; Solace which provides mental health and wellbeing support for those with experience of exile and persecution; and St. Vincent’s Centre which is dedicated to changing lives through advice, support, education and community.

Taster Performances & Workshops

Taking our work out of the theatre and into community settings enables us to celebrate creativity and to encourage people to develop artistically. This can take the form of taster performances which introduce opera in a fun, interactive format, through to projects such as People’s Lullabies where participants are invited to perform a song they have written, or which holds a particular significance for them, to camera.

Recent activities include a storytelling soundscape project with the Farsi Men’s Group at Solace which led to the creation of a Farsi language podcast with Resonance artist Babak Mirsalari exploring migration and Iranian regional traditions. We have also held drama, music, spoken word and other creative workshops with community groups helping their participants build confidence and skills.

Watching An Introduction to Ariadne auf Naxos at St. Vincent's Centre in Leeds © Ernesto Rogata

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 in our Access section about our upcoming audio-described, captioned, signed and relaxed/ dementia friendly performances, including Falstaff in the autumn, 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

Contact our Community Partnerships team on encore@operanorth.co.uk

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


Search our site