Opera House unlikely to open before 2025, says new director

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THE Opera House is not likely to reopen until 2025, according to its newly appointed interim director.

Andy Eagle, who was appointed to the role at the beginning of May, said that ‘there’s still a lot to be done’ to get the theatre back in working order, and that no date for reopening had been set.

Mr Eagle previously spent 11 years as chief executive of Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff and served as a board member for Arts Council Wales.

‘The opportunity to relaunch a venue like the Opera House doesn’t often come around so I jumped at the opportunity. It’s a gem – it’s an absolutely beautiful venue,’ he said.

The Opera House, which first opened in 1900, closed in March 2020 and is set to receive £11.5m-worth of renovations.

In the build-up to its reopening, Mr Eagle is keen to ensure the theatre lives up to its potential.

Andy Eagle: ‘It’s an absolutely beautiful venue’

He said: ‘I think there’s an opportunity for the Opera House to do more. I think there’s a huge opportunity for it to galvanise the arts community and the wider community.

‘I’d like us to perhaps be a bit more inclusive, a bit more diverse with the things that we put on. There’s a large Portuguese community on the Island, large Polish community on the Island, and we’d like to ensure they come in to see the programme and the activities that we put on.’

He is also hoping that the Island could become part of a wider artistic scene.

He said: ‘We have that capacity to attract a certain calibre of artists that other places on the Island don’t have. I’d very much like the Jersey Opera House to become part of the wider UK touring circuit, but there’s also opportunities to look to France as well and perhaps even further afield.

‘One of the things I think Jersey is very keen to see is a greater footprint and identity on the international stage.’

Mr Eagle said he was struck by the level of government support provided to the arts in Jersey.

‘The commitment from the Jersey government is to be applauded, not just for putting money into refurbishing the Opera House but also its support for other arts initiatives. I think the decision a few years ago to allocate 1% of GDP to arts and culture is a phenomenal initiative and endorsement of the arts and culture on the island, and to be recognised by artists and the arts community,’ he said.

Mr Eagle added that, despite it being ‘a bit of wait’ before the venue reopened, it would be worth it.

  • Mr Eagle is the subject of the Bailiwick Podcast. Scan the QR code below to listen.

  • Bailiwick Podcast QR code. (35927360)

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