Million pounds donation to Opera North project in Leeds as campaign for public support is launched.

Impression of the future Opera North facility in Leeds
Impression of the future Opera North facility in Leeds

A gift of £1 million has been made towards Opera North’s new world-class facility in Leeds, as the company launches a public fundraising campaign in a bid to find the final cash sum needed. Music Works is Opera North’s project to redevelop its buildings, and widen its scope in major fashion.  

The company needs to find the remaining £3.5m of its £18m scheme, that will allow many more public performances, create an education centre, studios, a restaurant and bar.

This latest boost is from The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation. A great supporter of the arts, the Foundation also supports urban regeneration and education programmes.  

Further support for Music Works is confirmed, with a significant contribution from Mrs Maureen Pettman and gifts from private individuals and Opera North audiences.  

Gifts are also pledged by The Wolfson Foundation, an independent charity that awards grants to support excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities, and from Backstage Trust, that supports performing arts projects.

The company’s public fundraising campaign, launched this week, asks all Opera North patrons and friends to support them too, however small a donation may be.

  Situated in the heart of Leeds city centre on New Briggate, the Opera North expansion will also double the number of performances in the Howard Assembly Room.

   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 said: “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.”

Opera North has raised £14.5 million to date, 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 contributed £750,000, together with the lease of vacant shops on New Briggate, and funding of £499,999 has been awarded by Arts Council England to allow improvements including dedicated facilities for editing filmed content and enhanced projection equipment for satellite relay of live broadcasts.

One of England’s largest arts companies, Opera North is a key driver of artistic innovation and skills in the region, permanently employing over 250 people, and working with around 370 freelance performers, creatives and artists each year.

Opera North’s award-winning opera productions are created and premiered in Leeds, and the Company performs at Leeds Grand Theatre each season before touring across the country.

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