English National Opera calls for ‘urgent revision’ after Arts Council cuts funding

09 Nov 2022 News

London Coliseum


English National Opera (ENO) is calling on Arts Council England (ACE) to reconsider a move which has cut its funding from the organisation in half. 

On Friday, ACE announced that ENO, which has an annual income of £20m, would lose its £12.6m annual grant in favour of a £17m investment over the next three years.

ENO has said this is a cut of £20.8m in funding over the three-year period. 

ACE’s funding round saw millions of pounds of funding moved from charities based in central London in favour of other parts of the country. 

In total, 990 organisations will receive a share of £446m each year from 2023 to 2026. Some 276 organisations were not previously receiving funding from ACE.

ACE chief executive Darren Henley wrote in a blog: “I know this whole process is tough on everyone involved. I know too that today will be hard for those organisations who had hoped for a different decision.”

He added: “This investment programme is fairer in its distribution, richer in its variety, and more widespread in its reach than ever before.”

ENO: ‘Doesn’t add up’

In a press release on the day of the announcement, ENO wrote the investment would “increase our national presence by creating a new base out of London, potentially in Manchester”.

However, less than a week later the ENO is calling for an “urgent revision” to the proposal.

Opera singer Sir Bryn Terfel Jones has started a petition to reinstate the ENO’s initial level of funding. It has almost 13,000 signatures. 

A spokesperson from the charity said: “It has become clear to the ENO that ACE’s proposal to cut our funding by more than 50% and relocate us out of London, possibly to Manchester as they suggested, doesn’t add up. 

“The ENO are calling on ACE to reinstate our full funding level and provide us with more time to allow for a proper consultation period. This will allow us to continue to perform in London whilst supporting their levelling up ambitions by increasing our presence across the UK, as detailed in our national portfolio organisations application.”

ACE: 'We require ENO to move to another part of England to receive support from us'

An ACE spokesperson told Civil Society News: “We require English National Opera to move to another part of England if they wish to continue to receive support from us. We raised Manchester as an option and English National Opera initially received that idea positively. English National Opera’s future is in their hands – at this early stage we have announced our funding plans for the next three years, and now we hope to engage in detailed planning with them. This would involve English National Opera reshaping their business model and finding a suitable location outside of London.”

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