Later this month, Opera North will be welcoming the community behind the scenes of its newly redeveloped building, the Howard Opera Centre, during its first Open Week when all ages are invited to come and find out more about the company and enjoy a programme of performances, talks and workshops.

Arranged to coincide with the October half term, the week will run from Monday 25 October through to the weekend with performances for all ages in the Howard Assembly Room, a focus on accessibility on the main stage, and Open Day: Backstage Pass and Family Festival days when the doors of the Howard Opera Centre will be thrown open so that people can see what the recent £18 million Music Works transformation has achieved and interact with the company in a variety of ways.

Open Day: Backstage Pass offers a glimpse behind the scenes on Wednesday 27 October with building tours running throughout the day to show everyone the new spaces which have been created and how they are being used. Attendees will be able to peek inside Costume, watch the Chorus of Opera North at work in the new Mantle Music Studio and go backstage at Leeds Grand Theatre following a route which also takes in the impressive new atrium.









During the event, there will be a rare opportunity to gain an insight into the journey of an opera from concept to opening night. Stephen Rodwell, Head of Costume and Wigs will explain how opera singers get to dress the part in Costumes: From Sketch to Stage, while Carmen Backstage talks on the Leeds Grand Theatre stage will reveal the secrets behind the technical wizardry which underpins the current production of Carmen. Visitors to a cover rehearsal of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti will get a chance to see how a work evolves in the rehearsal studio, while a special Masterclass led by Head of Music, David Cowan, will show the choices each singer has to make before they even step foot on stage.

The following day, Thursday 28 October, the company is holding a Family Festival offering a wealth of free activities for younger family members. From Family Big Sings and interactive storytelling to a chance to get creative with crafts, the emphasis is firmly on fantasy and magic. A Little ONes session will engage pre-schoolers with singing, dancing and musical games, and there will be several showings of the film Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella so people can sit back and enjoy 40 minutes of spellbinding singing and performance.

With events held in the Bramall Education Studio, the Holbeck Teaching Room and the Howard Assembly Room, there will also be the chance to explore and experience the new areas developed during the Music Works transformation.

Further details on all Open Week activities and performances can be found on the Opera North website.


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