Arts workshop opens doors

The first phase of a £60m creative industries production park opens today on the 14-acres of grade II-listed High House Farm in Purfleet, Essex.

The public-private partnership scheme will be inaugurated tonight by a specially commissioned opera inspired by the history of the site. London's Royal Opera House (ROH) will then take up residence as an anchor tenant, building all sets for its world class opera and ballet productions at the specially commissioned workshops.

The second phase of the scheme includes a National Skills Academy for offstage and backscreen training. The park aims to be an internationally recognised hub for the creative industries, but it opens just as the Arts Council is facing a 30 per cent drop in funding as part of the Government's public spending cuts.

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