'˜World-class' arts hub will be a catalyst for improvement

OPERA North's New Briggate home will be transformed into a 'world-class' arts hub as part of a £18m redevelopment which will also see empty shop units replaced with a new restaurant and bar.

Artists impressions for the redevelopment of Opera North's base on New Briggate, Leeds

Artists’ impressions of the ambitious redevelopment project have been released after the plans were granted planning permission last month.

As well as improved facilities for artists and audiences, the scheme will include a new education centre, enhancements to the historic frontage of the building and a new entrance and atrium space for the Howard Assembly Rooms, which is currently accessed via Leeds Grand Theatre.

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General director of Opera North, Richard Mantle, said: “We believe the development will result in real enhancements to both the day and night-time economy and culture of New Briggate and the Grand Quarter and will act as a catalyst for further improvements in the surrounding public space.

Opera Norths General Director Richard Mantle and Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council. Picture: Justin Slee

“I am delighted to say that we have already secured a significant level of funding from private and public sources, and this Autumn will see the launch of a large-scale fundraising campaign, to raise the remaining funds needed to fully realise this £18m project and deliver a vibrant cultural programme, placing music in the heart of Leeds.”

Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said the plans would enhance one of the city’s “key cultural assets”.

She added: “Opera North has been a cultural gem in Leeds for many years and by backing these plans, the executive board is recognising the organisation’s huge contribution to the city - both in the tremendous work we see on stage but equally the life-changing musical experiences Opera North provides for children in some of our most deprived neighbourhoods.”

Artists impressions for the redevelopment of Opera North's base on New Briggate, Leeds