Arts Council England
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Arts Council England publishes evaluation of Royal Opera House Manchester proposal

Arts Council England yesterday (12 March 2009) published an independent evaluation of a proposal from the Royal Opera House (ROH) and Manchester City Council (MCC) to open a new opera and ballet producing theatre in the rebuilt Palace Theatre, Manchester.

Leading arts consultant Graham Marchant was commissioned in October 2008 to conduct the evaluation, which examined the potential of the plans to expand opera and dance provision, develop new audiences and provide more training and skills development to the sector. The evaluation also looked at the plans’ possible impact on other cultural organisations, including those producing and touring this type of work in the north of England and across the country.

Graham’s full report can be found Here

Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said:

"Graham Marchant has produced an excellent report. It is comprehensive and thoughtful and expertly sets out the opportunities and challenges in the Royal Opera House Manchester proposal. We share his analysis and accept his recommendations.

"This is an ambitious and exciting proposal which could bring real benefits to audiences and arts organisations working across the north west of England. But as Graham's report points out, realising the vision will require significant additional public investment

"Graham’s report maintains that an idea of this scale cannot be done ‘on the cheap’ and his assessment of both the set-up and annual running costs shows that the level of public investment required will be significant, and higher than originally expected," Alan continued.

The Arts Council agrees with Graham's assessment that the full potential of the idea can only be realised through a wider range of partnerships with arts organisations working across the north of England, and that more work needs to be done to understand how the vision might be achieved without adversely affecting the sustainability of existing arts organisations.

That work will include developing the potential artistic and education programme alongside the training and skills activity which is a core part of the idea, as well as gaining an understanding of the potential audience and further assessment of the impact on existing arts organisations working in the North West.

In addition, a particular priority will be to examine how this can be funded and to identify potential sources of funding from public and private sector partners.

"A lot more needs to be done to turn this ambitious vision into a reality, including identifying potential sources of funding, and we look forward to working with the Royal Opera House, Manchester City Council and other partners to develop the idea," said Alan Davey.


Notes to Editors:

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives.

As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts.

Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.

Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

For more information please contact :
Louise Wylie
Arts Council England
Director of Media Relations
t:0207 973 5528
m:07912 998 955

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