Creative Industry Finance
OperaUpClose is an Olivier Award-winning opera company producing high-quality English chamber re-imaginings of well-known works and premieres of new operas. They tour across the UK as well as some international engagements. Executive producer, Dominic Haddock tell us:
“We founded OperaUpClose in November 2009, as an experiment. We wanted to produce an opera in a pub in Kilburn for a four week run over Christmas. That production of La Boheme ran in Kilburn for six months, transferred to Soho Theatre for two six-week-long runs, won an Oliver Award for Best Opera Production, won a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Off West End Production and the rest is history.
“We applied to Creative Industry Finance because we wanted to expand on our touring programme. We saw touring both as an opportunity to reach new audiences and to increase our revenue. We want to keep on being able to produce opera in non-traditional venues and we want our prices not to exclude anyone from attending. We also want to pay singers, creatives, stage managers – the whole team – a living wage.
“The combination of these factors is really challenging – if you only have 150 seats to sell, and are selling them at £10-£25, and in addition to the cost of the performance venue you also need to pay for a month of rehearsals with two casts (as opera singers cannot perform every night), the margins are pretty tight. We don’t want to compromise on any of those elements, and it is through a combination of ticket sales and crucial support from Creative Industry Finance that we have managed it so far.
“We think our biggest achievement is the way that we have been able to grow the company, from one show in a 35-seat pub theatre to having 21 under our belt, six West End seasons, eight full-time staff and five successful years of producing opera. “