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This year we are delighted to be celebrating our 10th birthday – our first performance of La Bohème took place on 7th December 2009. We have exciting plans for 2019 and beyond, with our new production of Mary, Queen of Scots touring to wonderful historical venues; our first opera for under 5s Peace At Last touring to 24 schools this summer and many more in the Autumn; a revival of our Olivier Award-winning La Bohème; and an ambitious new version of Madam Butterfly featuring authentic Japanese instrumentation opening in February 2020. 

We are proud of the impact we have had on opera in this country. We have the greatest geographical reach of any UK opera company, and we are the only opera company to tour to the majority of the venues we visit. Our surveys show that on our first visit, 30-50% of the audience have never been to an opera before, and after seeing our work over 80% of these first-timers say they will definitely see another opera. Opera lovers write to tell us that through our productions they have been able to share their passion with their children for the first time. Without us, thousands of people would not have the chance to experience this incredible artform.

To secure the future of OperaUpClose, so we can continue to share the life-changing, life-affirming power of opera, we are launching a Next 10 Years appeal.

As you are no doubt aware, the landscape for arts organisations and funding has become increasingly challenging over the decade since the foundation of OperaUpClose. We are regularly praised by the national funder of the arts in this country, Arts Council England, for the excellent quality of our artistic work, our success in diversifying the audience and makers of opera and the impact of our learning programme. However, we receive no regular funding from the Arts Council or any other public body, and it continues to be a challenge to cover the core office and salary costs of our tiny four-person staff team, without whom none of the artistic work could be delivered.

We bring in money from diverse income streams. The £500,000 we need to generate each year comes from ticket sales; trusts and foundations grants; ‘one off’ Arts Council project support and donations from generous individuals who believe in our mission. Our fundraising experience over several years means we are confident we can raise the funds we need for our upcoming productions. To be able to plan for the future with confidence, we now need to secure a base of ‘core costs’, releasing our much-loved organisation from the pressures of short-term funding and cashflow fluctuations.

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That is why we have set a target of raising £100,000 for the Next 10 Years of OperaUpClose before our 10th birthday in December.

Donors of £1,000 or more will become part of the ‘Next 10 Years Club’ and be invited to the private first sing- and play-through of the new Madam Butterfly orchestration and libretto, to the first public performance of Peace At Last, and to an exclusive Next 10 Years summer party with OperaUpClose artists. The money raised from this appeal will be the seed funding enabling us to secure multi-year grants from larger trusts and foundations. Support from trusts has been a notable growth area for us in the last few years, and we are now at a point when the larger trusts are ready to make a longer-term investment in OperaUpClose but need to be able to see greater financial security in order to commit their budgets in this way.

Your donation would enable us to demonstrate that security, and give us a stable base from which to plan an artistically ambitious future in which we share opera with even more people. If you would like to contribute, please click on the button above, email or call 020 3176 7823. You can also donate by sending a cheque made payable to UpClose Productions London and mail it to us at: OperaUpClose, 6 Dispensary Lane, London, E8 1FT.

We would be so grateful for your help – and please do pass along the message to other OperaUpClose fans you know. We would be happy to tell you more about how we plan to build resilience for the future, or indeed about our artistic plans. If you’d like to meet one of us, we would be delighted to do so.

OperaUpClose has already had a huge impact on opera in this country. Please help us to continue our important work.