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Manchester’s Palace Theatre set to become northern base for the Royal Opera House

Manchester’s Palace Theatre could be rebranded as the northern outpost of the Royal Opera House, it has been revealed.

Manchester City Council and the ROH are in the “early stages of discussions” about launching the scheme, while an agreement in principle has been reached with Live Nation, owners of the Palace, to develop a presence at the theatre for both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet.

Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council said: “While there is a still a lot of work to do, we think we have a compelling proposition. If successful, this will be fantastic for Manchester and further enhance our strong cultural offer. Establishing a new production, training and performance base here for the Royal Opera House would deliver significant economic benefit to the city by attracting more visitors and creating new jobs for local people.”

The Palace Theatre last year hosted the world premiere of Damon Albarn’s debut opera Monkey – Journey to the West, while next year it will also feature Rufus Wainwright’s first foray in the genre – Prima Donna.

ROH chief executive Tony Hall added: “We are delighted with the developments to date with our colleagues in Manchester, there is now a clear focus for the way forward.

“The Palace Theatre is an iconic building in the heart of Manchester and is a perfect location for developing our relationship with cultural and educational centres in the city. Discussions are at a preliminary stage and we will be consulting with a wide range of stakeholders as we go forward.”