John Passmore Edwards


Passmore Edwards Free Library, Hoxton

English Opera Company


When Hackney Council built a new central library in Hoxton Street, the Passmore Edwards Library became empty and redundant. The Council approached the then Director of the English National Opera, following a press article lamenting the lack of space at the main theatre site. The Opera Company was asked whether the library building could be of use for for its outreach and community work.
With the help of Dalston City Partnership and the Woodward Charitable Trust, in April 1996 the library took on a new lease of life housing ENO Baylis, the educational, outreach and community department for ENO as well as the ENO Opera Studio, which develops and commissions new opera works, the ENO Archives, a dedicated rehearsal space for the ENO Orchestra, and a temporary home for the Music Library and Sound Department.
In an oral archive interview for Hackney Museum, in January 2004, Teresa Deacon, Administrator for ENO Baylis, said "The generous sized studios at Pitfield St. (formerly the children's and general library floors) have enabled ENO Baylis to run regular weekly vocal techniques classes for opera and jazz singing plus performance skills. It has also been home to the Hoxton Singers, its own local pensioners' choir who have regularly entertained school children and other elders' organisations with their unique singing style. It has also run many varied workshops for teachers, school groups, local organisations and training days for teachers. The main company holds its singing and dance auditions in the studio space and other opera companies regularly rehearse there. Although the building is not licensed for public performances, the regular groups put on annual shows and reviews to invited audiences and, on occasions, we have large numbers of school children in for workshops and rehearsals.
H Hare
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Acknowledgement of contributions and  copyright
© Dean Evans 2004
January 22, 2005
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Miscellaneous gifts and donations
Passmore Edwards autobiography,,  A few footprints.