ROH hires Sydney PRO to pull in sponsorship

The Royal Opera House has turned to the world’s most iconic classical music venue for its new head of corporate communications.

Elizabeth Bell, PR manager for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra – based at the Sydney Opera House – since 1999, takes the newly created ROH post on 10 October. Her brief is to pull in sponsorship partners.

'While artistic excellence will always be of paramount importance, corporate funding and philanthropy remain high on any arts company's agenda to ensure long-term stability,' said Bell.

She added that she would 'maximise awareness' of corporate sponsors and individual supporters' partnerships with the ROH.
Bell will be expected to replicate the successes of link-ups with firms such as BP and Travelex. Director of press and comms Chris Millard, to whom Bell will report, said she would focus on raising the ROH's media profile and 'presenting the venue in a way that will
attract big firms interested in partnering high-profile arts organisations'.

He added: 'We are a part-public-funded, part-commercial organisation with a very high profile and our reputation needs to be protected. Attempts are often made to draw the ROH into political debates, and we put a lot of effort into dispelling the myth that we are elitist.'

In 1999 the then culture secretary Chris Smith offered to increase funding if the ROH succeeded in appealing to a wider audience. It underwent a 30-month redevelopment programme and offered cut-price tickets – subsidised by corporate partners – when it re-opened in 2000.

Millard, previously a director of arts PR agency Kirwin Millard and head of press and PR for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, assumed control of the ROH's press team in 2000.

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