English National Opera could be moving from London to Manchester amid a major upheaval in arts funding across the country.
The renowned national institution said it was considering moving its headquarters to the city as the Arts Council England (ACE) diverts funding away from the capital.
The registered charity today announced a new three-year funding scheme that aims to move millions of pounds from London to other parts of England.
READ MORE: Mom was branded ‘ignorant’ after complaining about being ‘the only white family’ at the softplay center
While some institutions such as the Donmar Warehouse Theater and the Royal Opera House will reduce their grants, English National Opera (ENO) has been dropped entirely from the ACE’s portfolio.
Instead, the company will receive a £17million grant over three years to develop a “new business model”. In a statement on their website today, the ENO announced they are considering Manchester as a potential new home.
It said: “Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter for English National Opera (ENO). Over the past four years, the ENO has reconsidered what a modern opera house should look like in order to build new audiences and reach beyond London.
“Whether it’s increasing diversity on and off stage, in the orchestra pit and among our audiences, supporting key national institutions like the NHS in their response to Covid with ENO Breathe, and increasing our presence on broadcast and digital platforms with brilliant operatic work, the ENO has done it repeatedly at the forefront of innovation for the entire operatic industry.
“Today’s Arts Council investment offer of £17m over the next three years will allow us to increase our national footprint by establishing a new base outside of London, potentially in Manchester. We plan to continue to manage the London Coliseum and use it to present a range of operas and dances while maximizing it as a commercial asset.
“The ENO has a vision and a purpose and we want to support the leveling up agenda by reinventing opera for future generations across England.”
ACE’s new national funding portfolio for museums, libraries and other arts organizations for 2023-2026 includes new investments in 276 institutions not previously part of the program.
This means that a total of 990 institutions will share £446m each year, up from 714 organizations previously, resulting in some institutions experiencing a cut in their annual funding.
During a press conference on Friday, ACE Chair Sir Nicholas Serota said the increase in funded organizations was partly due to the increase in applications as well as the Cultural Recovery Fund set up during the pandemic, which highlighted “many” arts organizations with which they are working had not worked together.
Sir Nicholas said: “I think it dawned on us that there was a tremendous amount of activity that really needed support and certainly deserved support, so it was natural to increase the number of organizations within the portfolio where we could. “
As part of the proposed plans, ACE also announced a £43.5m investment for organizations outside of London to contribute to leveling for the next three years. It will see a 95 per cent increase in investment across 78 designated areas, towns and cities including Blackburn, North Devon and Mansfield.
During the press conference, Sir Nicholas said: “This investment means we are supporting more people in more places. We have invested to ensure that as many people as possible in England can enjoy the very best in creativity.
“That means no matter where you live and what background you come from, you will have culture close to home. We support excellence and talent everywhere.”
The Royal Opera House in London was another prestigious institution to see funding cut following the announcement of ACE’s national portfolio on Friday.
Following the announcement, Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “People living in areas from Wolverhampton to Wigan and Crawley to Chesterfield will now benefit from the deep economy, thanks to this new government funding package, which puts more money across more communities than ever before.” social rewards that culture can bring.
“We continue to support our icons such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company, but today’s announcement will ensure organizations in places all too often overlooked have the support they need to access the arts to change for everyone – no matter where they live. ”
Philippa Childs, leader of broadcasting union Bectu, said the panel was “deeply concerned” at the impact of the announcement, which includes members The Royal Opera House, Donmar Warehouse and English National Opera, which are “confronted with the uncertainty of a move from London are faced”.
She said: “We are shocked and dismayed by the government cuts to London’s arts funding worth over £50million in today’s Arts Council England announcement.
“If the UK has any ambition to continue to be a leading cultural hub, we must avoid politically motivated decisions that hinder rather than support and underpin the fragile ecology of the cultural sector.
“Bectu is urging a summit meeting with affected venues and the Mayor of London to discuss the consequences of these destructive cuts. We will do everything we can to support and advocate for our members.”