Benjamin Britten’s Suffolk home to be restored

A MAJOR �1.4million project is to be announced today to redevelop the former Suffolk home of famous composer Benjamin Britten.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has confirmed funding for 'imaginative plans' to mark the centenary of the renowned Lowestoft-born composer and the impact his work had on the nation's culture and music heritage.

The award will support the redevelopment of The Red House in Aldeburgh where Britten lived and worked with his partner Peter Pears from 1957 until his death in 1976.

It was at the Red House that Britten created many of his most important and famous works, including Noyes Fludde and the War Requiem.

Since the death of Peter Pears in 1986, the Red House and its collections have been cared for by the Britten Pears Foundation.

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These include an archive containing Britten's manuscripts, correspondence and photographs, the eclectic art collection Britten and Pears put together over 50 years and original designs for set and costumes.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: 'Throughout his life, Benjamin Britten pioneered the idea that music-making should not be the preserve of the privileged few, but should involve people from across the community - whether they be amateur or professional, adult or child.

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'It is this idea that is carried forward with this project, creating new opportunities for everyone to explore, learn about and enjoy the wonderful legacy of Britten's work and collections.'

Timed to celebrate Britten's 100th birthday in 2013, the project will create a new educational space and fund a learning officer who will lead workshops and outreach activities for local schools, allowing even greater public access to the collection.

Britten's composing studio will be restored and the library next to it revitalised, creating larger gallery space for a free introductory exhibition.

A Britten Trail will also be established that will explore the influence the Red House, the surrounding Suffolk landscape and the local community had on the composer's work.

Alex Jennings, actor currently playing Benjamin Britten at the National Theatre, said: 'Whilst preparing to play Benjamin Britten in Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art, I was fortunate enough to stay at his former home, the Red House, and it's easy to see how this magical place inspired him and his work.

'It is fantastic news that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting this project that will help more people than ever enjoy the legacy of this great composer.'

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