Opera North aims to deliver its £18 million redevelopment project by winter 2020

By Jacob Smith

Opera North’s redevelopment project Music Works is still on course to be completed by December 2020 despite a few minor setbacks.

The original completion date for Music Works’ campaign was set for spring 2020 but Howard Assembly Room General Manger, Richard Ashton said: “The project is a little late in terms of delivery, we’re now looking at a completion date at the end of 2020.”

The campaign’s funding will transform the company’s buildings and aim to bring a more inclusive environment for the public by investing in state-of-the-art facilities designed for both members of the public and musicians.

The project is also a major capital investment for the city in the run up to the 2023 Leeds cultural celebrations.

Richard Ashton said: “We think that New Briggate will be a great place to experience culture and theatre.”

A new dedicated public entrance with a glass atrium will be built for the Howard Assembly Room venue which is fully accessible at all levels.

The new public entrance will allow young aspiring musicians to potentially rub shoulders with the professionals already in the industry.

Rowland Thomas, Opera North’s press officer said: “Most of the work being done at the moment is to turn the shop units below Leeds Grand Theatre into restaurants, and to improve rehearsal and education facilities.”

Opera North currently rehearse their performances at Leeds Grand Theatre so by building a purpose-built music rehearsal studio this will free up Leeds Grand Theatre for more performances to be shown.

Under 30s and full-time students can sign up to a free Opera North membership enabling them to attend certain shows for £10.

Reeya Sodi, 23, from Leeds, was attending a performance of La Boheme.

She said: “This is my first time attending an opera and I really enjoyed it. My ticket was so cheap as well I got my ticket for £10 when it should have been over £50.

“I probably wouldn’t have attended otherwise.”

The redevelopment of the Howard Assembly Room is also contributing towards the New Briggate Public Realm scheme which aims to pedestrianise the area and make it more accessible for public transport.

Richard Ashton, said: “The streetscape will be improved greatly, particularly outside the Howard Assembly Room which is great news for everybody connected to the city.”

The environmentally efficient estate still requires support from individuals, charitable trusts and the business community to fulfil Opera North’s ambitions.

To discuss how you can support Music Works in more detail, Lizzie Watson, Capital Campaign Co-ordinator can be contacted via email at: lizzie.watson@operanorth.co.uk.

Find out more about the Music Works project here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xQU4q0xFD4

Photo Credit: Opera North 

Photo Credit: Opera North 

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