English National Opera (ENO) has been awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) award for Audience Development 2011 in recognition of its free membership scheme for young people and its 2010 site specific production of ‘The Duchess of Malfi’, a collaboration with theatre company Punchdrunk. Commissioned by ENO from composer Torsten Rasch, the immersive opera was staged at Great Eastern Quay in London’s Royal Albert Basin, and was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary. ENO’s Access all Arias membership scheme for students and under 30s has, over five years, attracted 15,700 members through targeted marketing and ticket discounts, access to free social events and half-price programmes. John Berry, Artistic Director of ENO said: “We are very proud to win this award because it continues to highlight the changing face of our audience with more than a third aged 16–44.”
The RPS education award went to the primary school singing initiative, Sing Up, which was recognised as a project that has broadened the musical experience and understanding of participants on a large scale. Programme Director Baz Chapman paid tribute to the tens of thousands of individuals and organisations across the country that had been involved in the programme, including teachers, head teachers, vocal tutors, young singing leaders, parents, schools, music services and community music organisations. He described Sing Up as “dramatically changing the culture of singing in our primary schools for the better”. The RPS Awards are held in association with BBC Radio 3 which broadcast a programme about the category winners earlier this month.