Arts Council England publishes evaluation of Royal Opera House Manchester proposal
Arts Council England has today (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,
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 www.artscouncil.org.uk/rohm
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
"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:
Arts Council England
t: 0207 973 5528
m: 07912 998 955