Reviving Opera: How Norwich Theatre Envisions Change

norwich theatre opera

Is opera still hitting the right notes with audiences today? Norwich Theatre just dropped some insightful research and they’ve got a lot to say about the future of this classic art form. Spoiler alert: they’re asking for a major strategy overhaul from Arts Council England (ACE).

Opera: you either love it or you haven’t discovered its magic yet. But here’s the scoop: Norwich Theatre, a big name in the East of England’s arts scene, just did a deep dive into what people really think about opera post-pandemic. And guess what? The love for opera hasn’t dimmed a bit.

Opera’s Unchanging Demand

Norwich Theatre, comprising Theatre Royal, Playhouse, and Stage Two, is not just any venue. They’re a key player in the opera world and have been hosting Glyndebourne’s tours for over half a century. But with Glyndebourne cutting tours due to funding issues, Norwich Theatre is stepping up. They’re calling on ACE for a solid game plan on opera’s future in the UK.

Stephen Crocker, the big boss at Norwich Theatre, put it simply: people want opera, and they want it close to home. He’s urging ACE to whip up a strategy that includes everyone: touring companies, venues, audiences. Basically, he wants to make sure opera stays accessible, especially after the recent funding cuts.

What the Research Says

Let’s talk numbers. Norwich Theatre’s study, titled ‘Opera Voices’, is all about audience insights. They chatted with 1,144 folks who attended their shows in August 2023. The verdict? The audience’s love for opera is still going strong. Interestingly, 25% of their opera crowd pre-pandemic came from areas ACE labels as ‘levelling up for culture places’. That’s a pretty diverse audience!

But, there’s a twist. Despite this love, 39% felt opera wasn’t their jam. Why? Well, ticket prices, feeling out of place, and the whole ‘I have no clue what they’re singing about’ issue. This is where Norwich Theatre wants to step in and shake things up. They believe opera needs a makeover – to be seen as more inclusive and easy to get.

The Call for Change

So, what’s the big idea? Norwich Theatre is pushing for a strategy that brings opera to more people, makes it feel welcoming, and maybe even explains what’s happening on stage (because, let’s be honest, it can get confusing). They’re not just asking for changes; they’re demanding a whole new approach to keep opera thriving and accessible.

In a nutshell, Norwich Theatre is on a mission. They want to keep opera alive and kicking, but in a way that feels fresh and relevant. It’s all about keeping those classic vibes while making sure everyone feels like they belong in the audience.



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