Arts Council extends deadline for English National Opera to move from London

27 Jul 2023 News

London Coliseum


Arts Council England (ACE) has extended a deadline for the English National Opera (ENO) to relocate outside of London. 

ENO’s relocation away from the capital is now due to be completed by March 2029, three years later than previously planned. 

The new timeline will allow ENO to consult staff further and give it more time to “develop partnerships” in the new city, according to a joint statement from the organisations.  

During the 2024-26 period, the ENO will develop a programme in its new city while it transitions to its new business model. ENO will still deliver an opera programme every year in London despite this. 

ENO plans to announce its new city in December this year. 

ENO welcomes deadline extension

ACE previously announced a grant of £24m for the ENO for April 2024 to March 2026, on the condition that ENO creates a revised and agreed business plan. 

It also awarded ENO £11.5m for the year 2023-24, a 9% cut from its previous funding. 

Harry Brünjes, chair of ENO, said: “The ENO board and management look forward to working with the Arts Council to develop this positive future for the organisation.

“We welcome this investment and additional time which we believe will help us to successfully develop a new main base out of London, whilst maintaining a season at the London Coliseum. We are pleased that Arts Council England support the artistic plans we have proposed in tandem with our longstanding wish to engage with new audiences and partners around the country.”

Nicholas Serota, chair of ACE, said: “As custodians of public money, the Arts Council has led a rigorous process that has carefully considered ENO’s application. The ENO has presented inspiring ideas to bring their excellent work to people beyond the capital and to explore a range of new ways of presenting opera, and we are investing £24m in the company over two years to help them realise these ambitions.

“The extended timeline for their transition to a new main base will enable the ENO to undertake this complex move and to develop partnerships in the new city. The Arts Council’s support for opera is unwavering, and we are excited by the ENO’s new plans and by the enthusiasm shown by the potential host cities.”

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer said: “The English National Opera is a treasured national institution and I welcome the agreement they reached with Arts Council England to ensure a smooth transition towards a new future for the organisation. I look forward to seeing the plans it develops to make sure more people across the country can experience its fantastic work.”

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