Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A bit of info on independence

Since it was announced that OHP was in the process of investigating independence from the council, there have been, as expected I suppose, some peculiar ideas and theories floating around. The paper that was put to the cabinet on 22nd March (you can actually find the paper on the RBKC website) proposed the initial structure of an independent company and set out a framework of issues to be explored and examined by an interim board and several departments of the council. It also put forward a figure that the council should be planning to contribute should the move be made final; that amounts to roughly equivalent to the sum currently committed to the festival by the borough (about 18-20% of our turnover). Over the next few months we shall delve into the complex issues surrounding the creation of a new charitable company, assets, staff issues, funding agreements and sundry other matters. Everything we, our board and consultants conclude will be put into another decision paper for the council to consider in November. There is always a temptation in these situations to think that an arts organisation undergoing this process is in some way "in trouble" and the financial situation in the country only exacerbates this fear. However, in this case, we are looking at something designed to enable the continuing growth and development of an opera company that has emerged from a very unique set of circumstances. We have been proposing it for some time, in fact and it is a natural process to examine at this stage. The Royal Borough are, and continue to be, as committed as ever to Opera Holland Park. On that point, I can say that there is a very exciting season planned for 2013 (sponsored by Investec Wealth & Investment) and we will be announcing it soon. Meanwhile, you have about two hours from time of writing to get ready for the sale of Inspire seats for the brilliant double bill!

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