Read the full text of my letter here:
English National Opera – Withdrawal of Arts Council England Funding
I am writing to you regarding the announcement made by the Arts Council England (ACE) that it will remove the annual £12.6m investment in the English National Opera (ENO) from April 2023.
I understand that ACE is offering £17m over three years on the condition that ENO relocates from its current home to an out-of-London location, yet to be determined. After the proposed three-year transition, ACE recommends an annual investment of £5m a year.
ENO has received very positive reports from ACE throughout the past four years and in its end-of-year report. The decision to impose these reforms without consultation or a feasibility study is therefore particularly alarming. It puts at risk hundreds of world-class specialist roles and undermines ENO’s founding mission to bring ‘Opera to Everyone’ – including via its partnership with Luton Music Service.
The ACE’s decision does not seem to be based on available evidence. ENO is asking for the following:
- A strategic review of opera provision overall – so that decisions on the future of the sector are informed and driven by data and research. No ACE opera strategy currently exists.
- Reinstatement of a realistic level of funding for the next four years in order to provide a more significant out-of-London presence alongside continuing to cater for London audiences.
- Five years, not three years, to consult and conduct the proper feasibility of a new model for the ENO to do more work out of London while retaining the Coliseum as its London base, which will enable access to and development of new talent and effective fundraising.
Please can you provide a detailed response to each of the ENO’s recommendations?
I am sure you agree that the role ENO plays in the arts and cultural ecology of the UK makes resolving this problem vital. I look forward to receiving your response in due course.
Rachel Hopkins MP
Member of Parliament for Luton South