To inspire us, music works. To connect us, music works.
For our city, for everyone, music works.

Music Works is Opera North’s £18 million campaign to enable a significant capital redevelopment project during 2019–2021. The Company’s transformed buildings will be a welcoming home for everyone; a place for artists to make thrilling music; developing talent and inspiring audiences; and will cement Opera North as a creative powerhouse in the heart of Leeds.


Architect's visualisations

Cutting-edge facilities for making opera

Opera North’s estate on Harrison Street, between New Briggate and Vicar Lane, will be transformed to create an outstanding artistic centre for the Company’s creative work.

A Music Rehearsal Studio will be built on top of the existing opera rehearsal studios providing a state-of-the-art, dedicated home for the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North.

We will build three new music practice rooms, and refurbish our Costume Workshop with specialist facilities.

  • A purpose-built Music Rehearsal Studio
  • Three music coaching rooms
  • Refurbished Costume Workshop and Dye Room
  • A new artist and Company green room

More live music

We will increase the number of performances in the Howard Assembly Room, and give the venue a dedicated public entrance, with a beautiful glass atrium, direct stairs and lift access and improved front of house facilities.

We will bring more of the best global musicians and artists to Leeds each year, creating a diverse calendar of jazz, world music, folk, classical concerts, children’s opera, talks, film and installations.

The Howard Assembly Room is closed while redevelopment work takes place; and will reopen in 2021.

  • Increased number of performances in the Howard Assembly Room
  • A dedicated entrance for the Howard Assembly Room
  • An open, welcoming building that is fully accessible at all levels
  • New public spaces and a beautiful atrium

A home for Opera North Education

We will create a specially designed Education Studio, to house our award-winning education work in Leeds.

For the first time, youth ensembles, early years and family groups, schools’ workshops, and singing groups for adults will have a permanent base within Opera North, as the ground floor of our main building will be transformed into a series of interlinking teaching rooms and studio spaces.

This new Studio will be a centre of excellence and a home at the heart of the Company, where audiences of all ages and backgrounds can learn about and participate in making music.

  • A new, flexible Education Studio
  • A music coaching room for students
  • Break out spaces and ‘secret garden’ for school groups
  • A shared entrance for students, artists and staff, placing young people at the heart of the Company

Extraordinary experiences for audiences

We will create a new restaurant and bar alongside a refurbished Box Office.

Our building will be open to everyone from morning until late at night for coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks: a welcoming place for meeting, socialising and relaxing that will provide a greatly enhanced experience for audiences.

We will make significant improvements to the Grade II listed frontage of the building. This regeneration of a historic building on New Briggate will help improve an important part of Leeds city centre, including the approach to Leeds Grand Theatre and the wider civic space.

  • A new restaurant and bar, open all day, to audiences and general public
  • A fully accessible estate
  • A refurbished Opera North Box Office and reception for Leeds Grand Theatre
  • Restoration of a Grade II listed building, integrating with the wider improvements planned for the New Briggate public realm

A cultural flagship for Leeds

We will invest in state-of-the-art and environmentally sustainable facilities to house our staff of over 250 people and more than 370 visiting artists who work with Opera North each year.

We will support artistic exploration and excellence, and invest in digital infrastructure and capacity, making a valuable contribution to the cultural and civic fabric of Leeds and beyond. Our new restaurant and public spaces will enable us to deliver a first-class customer experience and diversify our business model, building financial resilience for the future.

  • An environmentally efficient estate
  • Photovoltaic panels to generate energy
  • A significant contribution to the wider improvements to the New Briggate public realm
  • A major capital investment in the run up to 2023 Leeds cultural celebrations

How can you support Music Works?

The Music Works campaign aims to raise £18 million, to realise the project cost and to help us fill the spaces with music and activity for audiences of all ages. Work is currently in progress on site, with the project due for completion in 2020-21.

We have already raised 87% of our target, but there is more to do. To take the Company into this new era, we now need the generous support and commitment of individuals, charitable trusts and the business community to help make these plans a reality.

Contact us

To discuss how you can support Music Works in more detail, please contact Natalie Rawel, Capital Campaign Co-ordinator:

Phone: +44 (0)113 223 3502

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