Equity UK Launches Peititon in Support of English National Opera Chorus

By Francisco Salazar

Equity UK has launched a petition in support of English National Opera’s Chorus members.

The petition which is directed to ENO’s Interim CEO, Jenny Mollica, and Chairman of the Board, Dr Harry Brünjes, demands fair wages on stage for the chorus.

It adds, “We urge you to abandon your plans to make dramatic cuts to ENO chorus and stage management contracts. Your proposal to reduce chorus contracts to cover just six months of the year would slash pay by 40%, making it near impossible to live on ENO salaries. We understand that these cuts result from your plans to reduce the ENO’s opera season in London following a reduction in Arts Council England funding. However, we believe these proposals are disproportionate, unsustainable for Equity members at ENO and show disregard for your artistic workforce.”

“Despite announcing that the ENO will establish a new base in Manchester, you have refused to guarantee any involvement in Manchester for your existing permanent artistic workforce, as well as refusing to confirm that there will be no compulsory redundancies. You are also seeking detrimental changes to chorus contracts which would worsen their terms of employment at the same time as they experience a catastrophic drop in their income.”

The petition, which has already garnered 1,600 signatures, comes after the English National Opera chorus voted on taking industrial action following proposed salary cuts to the ensemble.

This is the latest news out of the ENO after announcing that it would be relocating to Manchester. In November 2022, the ACE offered the company £17 million over three years to relocate after the funding cut announcement. The ENO originally announced it would be moving by 2026 but moved it to 2029 when funding was adjusted.