English National Opera Loses Arts Council Funding; Leaving London

By Francisco Salazar

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

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

In a statement from the ENO, the company said, “For the past four years, the ENO has been reimagining what a modern opera company should look like, building new audiences and reach beyond London. Whether increasing diversity on and off stage, in the pit and in our audiences, supporting important national institutions such as the NHS in their Covid response with ENO Breathe and increasing our presence on broadcast and digital platforms with brilliant operatic work, the ENO has repeatedly been at the forefront of innovation for the entire opera industry.”

It continued, “today’s offer of investment from Arts Council of £17 million over the next three years will allow us to increase our national presence by creating a new base out of London, potentially in Manchester. We plan to continue to manage the London Coliseum, using it to present a range of opera and dance whilst maximizing it as a commercial asset. The ENO has vision and purpose and we aim to support the leveling up agenda by reimagining opera for future generations across England.”

According to BBC, “the annual Arts Council grant equates to more than double the box office income it earned in the year before Covid.”

Meanwhile, the Arts Council England chair Sir Nick Serota said, there are “opportunities that exist for English National Opera to become a different kind of company working across the country. They are capable of responding, in our view. They’ve got great leadership. They have great achievement, and there seems to us to be an opportunity here that we should grasp.”

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