As one of Europe’s leading arts organisations delivering a radical art-form invented over 400 years ago, how can opera north present itself as relevant, radical and exciting to today’s funders, audiences and broader society?

A Powerhouse
Opera North is one of the largest arts institutions outside of London seeking to actively challenge conventional perceptions of opera. Breathing new life into the classics, the Company is also a strong advocate of lesser-known works and a champion of musical theatre. In spite of a long history of success, including many national and international awards, the Company recognised that the world within which they were operating was changing dramatically.

Radical thinking for a radical art-form
Working with the Company’s leadership team, we initially worked on identifying the macros trends that the Company would have to navigate in the next five to ten years. These included new funding models, shifting audience demands, the potential for societal impact and its role in shaping the identity of the North. Through interviews and workshops with both the management and the Company’s creative teams, we co-created its purpose through asking four key questions:

  1. How do we see our art form?
  2. What do we bring to audiences’ lives?
  3. What do we contribute to the world?
  4. How should we operate internally?

We are opera at heart

  • A leadership aligned around a compelling purpose that both recognised opera’s radical heritage but reframed it for tomorrow’s world
  • The purpose formed the basis of  a highly successful funding submission to the Arts Council England
  • The foundation of the Company’s approach to their new business plans.
  • Applied to helping shape innovative partnerships and collaborations both commercial and artistic
  • Used in repositioning what the Company offers to potential donors and supporters