Works have begun redeveloping Opera North’s headquarters in Leeds, to be known as The Howard Opera Centre. The project is part of Opera North’s wider scheme, Music Works.
Situated in the heart of Leeds city centre on New Briggate and Harrison Street, the redevelopment work will create a world-class facility to make opera; a new Education Studio and additional rehearsal spaces, including a new rehearsal room for the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North and a suite of music coaching rooms.
The redevelopment will be home to Opera North’s rehearsal studios, costume and wigs workshop, and administrative offices. The Howard Assembly Room will be refurbished with a new fully accessible entrance and atrium, an increased number of performances and a new restaurant and bar.
The Howard Opera Centre will take on the new name in recognition of a significant personal gift of £11.25 million from leading philanthropist Dr Keith Howard OBE towards the Music Works redevelopment. It is thought to be among the largest private donations ever made to a UK arts company outside of London.
Works began on site during summer 2019 and are due to complete spring 2021.
We are pleased to see this significant redevelopment now taking shape, creating a vastly improved artistic and educational hub for one of Leeds’ leading cultural assets. Opera North makes a huge contribution to the city, both in terms of the vitality and diversity of work seen on stage, and also through its work with children, young people and communities throughout our region.
Through the revitalisation of a neglected section of New Briggate, the improved facilities for the Howard Assembly Room will work in tandem with our wider aspirations for the area as part of the Heritage Action Zones and Connecting Leeds programmes, creating a vibrant destination and supporting our plans for a better connected city.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council