Nevill Holt Opera has been awarded the People’s Vote in this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture, the Leicestershire-based opera house has announced.

The RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s highest accolade for architecture and Nevill Holt is the only opera house to be shortlisted for this prestigious award. The venue lost out to Goldsmith Street in the main prize for 2019, but won the public vote with a 28.8% share, narrowly beating London Bridge Station on 24.6%.

The 400-seat theatre designed by architects Witherford Watson Mann was completed in 2018 and is housed in an original 17th century stable block. It was acoustically crafted to promote young opera singers’ voices and create an intimate audience experience. The huge achievement of winning the People’s Vote shows how receptive the general public have been to this incredible space, a spokesperson for the venue said in a statement.

Artistic Director Nicholas Chalmers and Managing Director Rosenna East commented: “We are thrilled to win the popular vote for the Stirling Prize 2019. Our new theatre by Witherford Watson Mann has enabled us to provide uplifting and inspiring musical experiences to thousands of audiences and young people this year alone. While bringing new life to a historic building, the new facility has had a real impact on all of the students, artists and audiences for whom it was designed.”

The permanent theatre – replacing 10 years of temporary tents – has enabled Nevill Holt Opera to go from strength to strength, showcasing two operas in the 2019-20, while also providing a home for the company’s education programme with schools in the East Midlands, which reaches almost 1,000 children per year. The 2018-19 season featured 22 events in the new space including chamber music, song recitals, community events and concerts, as well as a larger summer opera festival.



The 400-seat theatre at Nevill Holt has won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2019 People’s Vote (Hélène Binet).