English National Opera loses Arts Council funding; Leaving London

English National Opera has lost its £12.6m annual core funding from Arts Council England.

The news comes as the arts council announced its funding for the next three years, focused on moving funds out of central London. Instead, the ENO will receive £17m over three years to ‘develop a new business model’ and has suggested a move to Manchester.

In a statement from ENO, the company said: “Over the past four years, ENO has reinvented what a modern opera company should look like, building new audiences and reaching beyond London. That it this is to increase diversity on and off stage, in the pit and in our audience, to support important national institutions such as the NHS in their Covid response with ENO Breathe and to increase our presence on broadcast platforms and digital with brilliant opera work, ENO has repeatedly been at the forefront of innovation for the entire opera industry.

This continued, ‘Today’s investment offer from the Arts Council of £17 million over the next three years will enable us to increase our national presence by creating a new base outside London, potentially in Manchester . We plan to continue to run the London Coliseum, using it to showcase a range of opera and dance while maximizing it as a business asset. ENO has a vision and a purpose and we aim to support the upgrade program by reimagining opera for future generations across England.

According BBC“the annual Arts Council grant is more than double the box office revenue it earned in the year before Covid.”

Meanwhile, Arts Council England chairman Sir Nick Serota said there are “opportunities for English National Opera to become a different type of company working across the country. They are capable of reacting, in our opinion. They have excellent leadership. They have great accomplishments, and it seems to us that there is an opportunity here that we should seize.

The news comes as other major opera houses have also seen their funding cut, such as the Royal Opera House which was down 10%, Welsh National Opera which was down 34% and Glyndebourne which also saw a reduction of 50%.

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