ETO wins £25K Creativeworks London award

1st July 2015

ETO has won a £25,000 award from Creativeworks London to explore how the audience experience of live opera and audience engagement with the art form can be enhanced.

The award, which has been made jointly to a team from ETO and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, was announced yesterday evening (30 June), after seven teams took part in a competitive ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch process to industry experts.

ETO and Guildhall School plan to use the award to fund new research into how opera-goers see the live art form, with help from partners at Hackney Empire and Mousetrap Theatre Projects. The research results will then in turn inform the development of new digital or non-digital enhancements to future ETO performances.

During the pitching process yesterday, each team was invited to individually pitch their ideas to a judging panel of six experts including Chris Moore (UK Trade & Investment), Vicky-Marie Gibbons (Bethnal Green Ventures) and Steve Legg (IBM Corporation).

ETO was one of two BOOST winners announced yesterday, with another £25,000 prize also awarded jointly to the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive & Birkbeck, University of London.

ETO Head of Marketing John Holmes, who made the pitch to the panel, said: ‘Finding ways to engage with our audiences all-year-round is a major priority for English Touring Opera, especially as quirks in data protection legislation mean we often don’t get to know who our audience members actually are.’

He added: ‘The expertise of Guildhall School, funded through Creativeworks London, gives us the opportunity to tackle this problem meaningfully. Having experienced researchers actually asking audience members how their engagement with opera could be enhanced, rather than embarking on expensive digital projects for which there is no appetite, is of immeasurable benefit for a company with finite resources such as ourselves.’

Professor John Sloboda, Director of the Guildhall School’s Understanding Audiences Programme, said: ‘Guildhall School is pleased to be able to offer its research expertise to a collaborative project with a valued partner which will both allow new intellectual insights into London audiences for opera, and provide information which will be of genuine business value for ETO’.

Creativeworks London is a research hub set up specifically to bring together London’s creative industries with its research community. The hub brings together 38 London-based universities, colleges, museums, libraries and archives, exploring areas such as entrepreneurial development, emerging markets, new ways of engaging London’s diverse audiences, and the development of digital resources and media content.

BOOST is a follow on award available to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and researchers who have previously benefited from Creativeworks London funding. The award scheme aims to provide support to such organisations to further develop or commercialise their ideas through collaborative research projects, with an overall aim of making a positive impact on London’s creative economy.

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