English National Opera facing major cuts amid funding overhaul by Arts Council England

The English National Opera is set to lose over £12.5m from its core annual funding, while also being told to “develop a new business model”, in a major move from Arts Council England.

The empty auditorium of the London Coliseum

As part of what has been described as the biggest overhaul to English arts funding in years, the National Opera will receive £17m over three years, with a suggestion it moves from London to Manchester.

This is a trend across the board, with millions of pounds of funding moved outside central London. Approximately 20 per cent of the money that previously went to institutions in the capital, will be diverted elsewhere by 2026. 

Friday’s announcement revealed that the The Shakespeare North Theatre in Prescot, Blackpool’s illuminations, and libraries in Barnsley, Warwickshire and East Yorkshire will all get cash for the first time.

Sir Nick Serota, chair of Arts Council England, said there were “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.”

A statement from the ENO shows that they are taking the changes in stride.


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