It is with great pride, delight and excitement that Nevill Holt Opera looks forward to the opening of a brand-new opera house in 2018. Our new theatre will provide an outstanding and permanent home for NHO, its historic setting making it the most uniquely intimate opera house in the UK.
The Nevill Holt stable block has always been one of the most beautiful and harmonious elements of the Nevill Holt estate. Approaching the village from Drayton, it stands out as the first building visible on the prow of the hill, in a glorious position overlooking the Welland Valley.
Audiences tell us how much they look forward to gazing out at that view from our Theatre door before turning to the operatic delights inside. Nic Fiddian Green’s ‘Monumental Horse at Water’ lifts the setting to another dimension, cleverly referencing the building’s original purpose.
For years, audiences at Nevill Holt willingly made the best of a tarpaulin and scaffolding structure, fitted up to enclose the 18th Century courtyard. While not luxurious, this was a happy upgrade from the famous ‘bubble’ on the lawns in the early years – which longstanding audience members remember all too well.
Behind the historic stone façade, our new home is now under construction. The temporary scaffold structure which filled the courtyard was dismantled last August, and a new 400 seat theatre is now rapidly taking shape, to designs by Stirling Prize winners Witherford Watson Mann.
The stunning new theatre will better match the top quality of the NHO productions, which have outgrown their temporary home. Focussing on NHO’s mission to nurture and encourage emerging artists, our new space has been designed to support young performers. It will be an intimate and supportive space, to elevate and assist their talented voices.
Acoustic excellence is our key goal. Working closely with Sound Space Vision (acousticians and theatre consultants), layout and materials are designed to achieve a warm sound, good sightlines and a more versatile stage and orchestra pit, supporting a wider repertoire.
Concealed completely within the listed stable courtyard, the theatre will not be visible from the house or gardens. Inside, warm and golden ironstone walls will be revealed. The stalls and orchestra pit have already been excavated into the ground, allowing the entrance and the stage to sit at ground level. A lightweight timber roof will bear directly onto the stone walls, extending the volume of the courtyard upwards.
A large rooflight at the centre of the roof will brilliantly maintain the luminous, external atmosphere of the courtyard. The space will be uniquely liminal – as theatres should be. A new balcony in curved wood will be supported on fine steel columns, set slightly apart from the historic walls. The wooden proscenium panels will be hinged so that the space can be opened up for concerts or events.
Our new Theatre will bring a special intimacy to Nevill Holt Opera. New structures will entwine harmoniously with warm historic stone walls. We will achieve greater technical quality while cherishing the direct, rustic feel that makes this extraordinary setting for an opera house so special.
Priority booking opens to members in January 2019. To access priority booking and guarantee your ticket, become a Nevill Holt Opera Member.
Public Booking opens on Friday 8th February.