English National Opera will lose its £12.6m core annual grant from Arts Council England, instead getting £17m over three years as part of a plan to relocate.
ENO is committed to working with Arts Council England (ACE) to aid the levelling up agenda, but it has become increasingly clear that the proposal needs urgent revision. ENO would like to remain a world-class opera company in London and perform more regularly out of London in all parts of the country, but this decision makes it impossible to do either.
What is ENO campaigning for ?
• ACE do no give enough time to ENO to relocate in another city, risking the jobs of circa 300 fulltime musicians, singers and technical staff jobs amongst others.
• Re-establishing a similar sized audience in another city will take time – and ACE’s suggestion of Manchester is already well-served by Opera North, who also haven't been consulted
• ENO is grateful for ACE’s proposed investment of £5.6m a year over three years to aid this relocation but this represents a huge 55% cut in the current funding level – which does not mirror the 15% levelling up cut that had been highlighted by ACE/DCMS and expected by London organisations
• ENO wants to retain its current funding level for the next three years so that it can continue to reshape what a modern opera company looks like – balancing mainstage grand scale opera at the Coliseum with out of London work as set out in our ACE application.
The ENO was set up to bring opera for everyone and has been doing this very successfully for nearly 92 years:
• 1 in 7 attendees to ENO now are under 35
• 50% of the ENO audience is opera first timers
• Tickets are totally free to under 21s (and starting at £10 for everyone else)
• 11% of ENO’s audience are ethnically diverse – more than any other UK opera house, and this number continues to grow
• In the 21/22 season, over half of ENO’s audience came from outside of London
• ENO introduced regular relaxed performances at the London Coliseum to benefit anyone who might normally not be able to access theatre.
ENO is the training ground for the artistic talent of the future:
• For over 90 years, ENO has showcased the best of British operatic talent on its stages – over 80% are British or British-trained
• Since 1998, ENO has nurtured over 70 emerging singers through the ENO Harewood Programme, all of whom regularly return to the company and work internationally at the highest level
• ENO was the first company in the UK to introduce fellowships for ethnically diverse orchestral musicians, choristers and directors and is currently recruiting for a Chorus Fellowship for Disabled People.
ENO Engage exists to open new possibilities for opera in people’s lives. ENO works with health trusts, schools, community organisations and partners across the country. In the 2021/22 season ENO Engage programmes reached 280,530 people, online or in-person including:
• 85 NHS Trusts partnered with us on ENO Breathe, our breathing-retraining-through-singing programme
• 800 schools, in London and nationally
• 18,000 primary school viewers watched our new Sky Kids TV show