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Opera North receives Culture Recovery Fund grant

Opera North today announces that it is to receive a grant of £2 million from Arts Council England and DCMS as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, to support the future financial resilience of the Company.

In a year when the creative industries have been so badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, like many of our peers, we have been unable to create and share large-scale live work. This combined with other pressures has had a serious impact on our capacity to generate earned revenue in the form of ticket sales and fundraising, and will continue to do so for as long as social distancing measures are needed to protect audiences, performers and theatre workers.

This funding will enable us to continue to work towards re-staging performances in theatres and concert halls once it is safe to do so, to continue as much of our education and community outreach work as we can online, and to use opera, music and performance to inspire, uplift and entertain audiences in new and innovative ways, live and digitally, over the coming months.

Rodney Vubya and Michelle Andrews in Street Scene, 2020 © Clive Barda

A statement from Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North:

“This significant boost from the Culture Recovery Fund will help us take major steps towards readying the company to get back to staging opera and music in our home city of Leeds, and across the North of England. We welcome this news with overwhelming gratitude. It is a vote of confidence in the work of our company, and real evidence of the Government’s determination to invest in the North at a time when so many cities and communities are facing such uncertainty.

“Our core purpose remains to use music and opera to create extraordinary experiences for everyone, and we have stayed true to this vision throughout the uncertain times of the past year, shifting focus to make smaller scale live and digital activity with people in communities across the region. We have seen thousands of people sign up to learn to sing with our Chorus online, performed pop up operas in outdoor spaces, created a digital version of our community opera for County Durham in partnership with Northern Heartlands, delivered online music lessons for students in primary schools and worked with our partners in Leeds to begin to return to live indoor performance with reduced audience numbers.

“The most recent lockdown is another setback we need to overcome, but we are grateful to Arts Council England, DCMS, Leeds City Council and so many of our supporters and donors who have stood by us over these past months. We work with renewed hope and determination to be here for culture now and in the future and to make music in theatres, concert halls, classrooms, community centres and public spaces for people across the North and beyond.”


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