Nevill Holt Opera

From stable block to stunning theatre

Market Harborough, Leicestershire

drawing of the interior of the Nevil Holt Opera

The Nevill Holt Estate was purchased by the current owner in 2000 and the Nevill Holt Opera was founded in 2013, with a mission to enrich lives and empower young people through music and the arts. Renowned for both its opera festival and its outstanding collection of modern British art and sculpture, over the last 10 years more than 20,000 people have attended productions during their Summer Opera Festival, hosted in a temporary theatre.

The ambition was to transform a listed stable block into a contemporary new theatre to house the charity and introduce more young people to classical music and Rural Solutions were able to secure planning consent for this stunning development.


To transform a Grade II listed stable block into an outstanding permanent theatre, to provide a home for the Opera and continue to introduce young people to classical music.

drawing of the interior of the Nevil Holt Opera


Working in collaboration with award-winning architects, Witherford Watson Mann, Rural Solutions prepared a planning and listed building submission to Harborough District Council. Rural Solutions led detailed pre-application consultations with the Council, County Council and Historic England in order to ascertain that the proposed scheme was acceptable and would minimise harm to the listed building. Success was secured by the effective communications of the client and the development team objectives for the property, where the challenges were significant due to both the Grade II* listing of the property and the impacts of the operation of the Opera on land and property.

Rural Solutions demonstrated that the scheme would safeguard 40 full-time and part-time jobs as the length of the opera season would be doubled due to the new building and would also benefit the local visitor economy through partnership between Nevill Holt Opera, the Estate and local businesses and tourism organisations.


Rural Solutions successfully achieved planning for this project and The Nevill Holt theatre has since received the Stirling Prize People's Vote 2019 and no fewer than four RIBA awards, including the prestigious RIBA National Award 2019.

Give us a call on 01756 797501 or email

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