Opera North is seeking planning permission for a redevelopment project after plans received support from Leeds City Council’s Executive Board.

An artist's impression of the new atrium and access to the Howard Assembly Room
An artist’s impression of the new atrium and access to the Howard Assembly Room

The Howard Assembly Room, currently accessed via Leeds Grand Theatre, will have its own dedicated entrance and box office, with a new restaurant and bar replacing a row of vacant shop units directly beneath the venue on New Briggate. A new atrium space will link the restaurant and bar space with stairs and lift access, and will offer improved front of house facilities for audiences.

Further development of Opera North’s estate on Harrison Street, between New Briggate and Vicar Lane, will connect the Company’s primary rehearsal spaces, administrative offices and costume department with new music practice rooms and a chorus and orchestra rehearsal room.

A new fit-for-purpose Education Centre will house Opera North’s education work, including studio rehearsal spaces and teaching facilities for youth ensembles, activity spaces for early years and family groups, schools’ workshops, and singing groups and courses for adults.

Richard Mantle, general director of Opera North, said that the company was seeking ‘to create a truly world-class arts hub to meet the needs of our audiences, our artistic company, and our city’, adding: ‘We have submitted a planning application which is the result of extensive research, planning and consultation, and which we believe will result in a real enhancement to the civic area and facilities of New Briggate and the surrounding Grand Quarter.’

Those interested in the redevelopment are invited to attend a public consultation event taking place 5.30pm-7.30pm on 26 April at the Howard Assembly Room.