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ROH shelves its plans to move north

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Plans to establish a northern base for the Royal Opera House in Manchester have been put “on hold”.

However, The Stage understands that this is not a direct result of the cuts made in the Comprehensive Spending Review last month, despite reports linking the decisions.

In a statement, ROH said the coalition government had endorsed its proposals for a northern home and it would be pursued at the “appropriate time in the future”.

The statement continued: “ROH and Manchester City Council remain committed to establishing a production base for the ROH in Manchester, although plans have been put on hold during this time of economic uncertainty. It is not a direct result of the cuts.”

A council spokesperson added: “When the economic climate becomes clearer, we will be in a position to discuss timescales.”

The creation of ROH Manchester would see the city’s Palace Theatre become a producing house for the company and a venue for opera and music from across the world. As well as host ROH productions, the theatre would produce work by Opera North.

Following discussions with the Lowry, it was agreed that the Salford venue would continue to present lyric theatre and dance, including Royal Ballet performances.

Last year, an independent report suggested it would cost £100 million to transform the Palace Theatre into an ROH producing house and that the London-based institution would require £16 million annually for running costs for the new site. ROH will receive almost £2 million less in subsidy from Arts Council England for 2011/12 than it did this year, in line with all ACE’s regularly funded organisations.

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