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.
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
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.