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New gifts cement our Music Works project

A £1 million gift from The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation is the latest contribution to Music Works, our upcoming project to redevelop our buildings.

A major supporter of the arts, especially within the Yorkshire region, The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation also supports urban regeneration and education programmes.

Further support for Music Works has also been confirmed, with a significant contribution from Mrs Maureen Pettman and major gifts from a number of private individuals and existing Opera North audiences. In addition, gifts have been pledged by The Wolfson Foundationan independent charity that awards grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities, and Backstage Trust, which supports projects in the performing arts.

Situated in the heart of Leeds city centre on New Briggate, our redevelopment will create a world-class facility to make opera; a new Education Studio; new rehearsal and performance spaces; increased number of performances in the Howard Assembly Room and a dedicated public entrance to the venue; and a new restaurant and bar replacing a row of vacant shop units.

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North said:

Music Works would not be possible without the generous support Opera North has received from donors such as The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, whose pledge will enable us to create a truly welcoming and accessible building with new public spaces, greatly improved facilities for audiences, artists and participants, and more live music events in the heart of the city.

With their support, together with support from The Wolfson Foundation, Backstage Trust and other donors, we will create a place for artists to make thrilling music, a place for people of all ages to learn about and participate in music and the arts, and an accessible public space where everyone is welcome.

Terry Bramall comments:

We are delighted to be able to offer our support to Opera North’s redevelopment programme, Music Works, a project from a company at the heart of Leeds’ cultural life, which is set to drive significant improvements to the New Briggate area of the city. We look forward to seeing the diverse programme of music and events in the Howard Assembly Room extend and grow, as well as the development of a purpose-built Education Studio, which will create a real hub for young people in the city to develop skills in music and the arts.

Architect's visualisation: Entrance to the Box Office, Leeds Grand Theatre reception and Howard Assembly Room

Our overall target for the Music Works fundraising campaign is £18 million. This will deliver the project, which represents a cost of £15 million, and will also create a new fund to enable Opera North, a registered charity, to deliver more music and education activity in the future.

To date we have raised £14.5 million, including a significant philanthropic gift of £11.25 million from Dr Keith Howard OBE, President of Opera North and founder of Emerald Group Publishing.

Leeds City Council has contributed £750,000, together with the lease of the vacant shops on New Briggate, and funding of £499,999 has been awarded by Arts Council England to allow Opera North to improve its arts facilities, make energy efficiencies, and develop digital infrastructure, with dedicated facilities for editing filmed content and enhanced projection equipment for satellite relay of live broadcasts. The balance of the funds raised to date has come from a number of private donors.

There remains a funding gap of £3.5 million to close, and we will now look to Patrons, Friends and audiences to play their part in the success of the redevelopment at many different levels, launching a campaign at the Opera North Annual Winter Patrons’ Reception. Work also continues to attract funding from further charitable trusts and foundations and the business community in Leeds.

Read more about the project, and find out how you can help, on the Music Works page.


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