Statement on independence and the Grenfell Tower fire

Opera Holland Park – 19 June 2017 

Opera Holland Park (OHP) has been a charity, independent of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, since October 2015. There has been a theatre on the grounds of Holland Park since the early sixties. The council assumed control of the theatre operation in Holland Park in 1987 when the Greater London Council was abolished.

Opera Holland Park was granted a final settlement by RBKC in 2015. This was in part because of the increasing pressures on council funding. Up until 2015, all permanent employees of OHP were council officers managing the service for RBKC. Those staff transferred to the new charity in October 2015.

OHP has been directly affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, with one of our most valued and much loved staff members currently missing. Several of OHP’s staff are, and have historically been, residents of North Kensington. This tragedy has had a profound effect on the company and our thoughts and sympathies are with all those affected.

Opera Holland Park is an ex-council service, previously part of a culture service that included Leighton House Museum and other cultural events. The historical expenditure by RBKC on its cultural portfolio is a matter of record. Since 2015, OHP has not received funding from RBKC.

OHP is renowned for its accessibility and Inspire outreach programmes, working with a wide cross section of the community, including people with dementia, visual impairment, young people and those with autism. The average ticket price is in the region of £50 with the festival offering over 1000 free seats, over 2000 seats at £18 and half-price seats for NHS, Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service employees.

It is our belief that classical music and theatre are for the enjoyment of the entire community and that culture is not mutually exclusive with other forms of social funding and policy. OHP is embedded in the local community and regularly works with local charities including The Rugby Portobello Trust, Age UK and charities supporting refugees.

Opera Holland Park has been collecting for victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy at the theatre each night, and will continue to do so. This money will go to the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation for distribution – 100% goes directly to people in need and is being listed by all concerned as the prime handler of financial donations.

Opera Holland Park is already developing plans to hold a major fundraising event, working in association with local organisations. Details will be announced when appropriate.

OHP is a large employer of people, including many locals. Over the course of an OHP season, we employ over 300 people on site – not only singers and musicians but also stage crew, technical crew, stewards, wardrobe and make-up staff, carpenters, security and bar staff.

For further information, please contact:

Alexandra Watson, Harestones Communications
alexandra@harestones.org
+44 (0)7789 656433