Other regions have also benefited from having their own company. Kent Opera, formed in 1969 by Norman Platt (Artistic Director) and Roger Norrington (Musical Director until 1984), is an example of a regionally-based English opera company funded by the Arts Council. Playing prinicipally in theatres at Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells, but also touring throughout the southern counties, Kent Opera built up a repertoire with a broad appeal but enlivened with less well-known works and some commissions. Unfortunately, the withdrawal of its grant in 1989 led to its demise. Opera North, formed in 1977 and centred on Leeds, provides a similar service for the north of England, as does Opera East for East Anglia.
The regions have also benefited from the touring companies of the major opera houses, together with Phoenix Opera (1965-80), Birmingham Touring Opera, which uses reduced forces and community venues, and Travelling Opera, founded in 1986 by Peter Knapp, possibly the most active of the smaller groups. Opera for All, formed by the Arts Council in 1949, was the first of these small companies created specifically to take opera in English to towns and villages unlikely to experience the art form live. Although it originally consisted of a group of four singers, a pianist, and a stage manager cum compère, it had expanded to three groups of twelve members by 1966. Its role was subsequently taken over by similar groups run by the main houses and by Opera 80, founded by the Arts Council in 1980 with similar aims but with its own orchestra.