ENO will relocate as funding for the arts is diverted away from London

<span>Photo: Tristram Kenton / The Guardian</span>“src =” https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/PKmV9bzk4mAZNb658FaQAA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenebfsen/theguardian_390739610749710749710310749710310749710339710310739710339107396 “https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/PKmV9bzk4mAZNb658FaQAA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/thegebuardian_74971010627a></div>
<p><figcaption class=Photography: Tristram Kenton / The Guardian

The English National Opera, one of the country’s cultural jewels, will move out of London. He announced the move as England’s leading arts funding body unveiled a new three-year deal diverting money from the capital.

The opera house will receive a £ 17 million grant from Arts Council England (ACE) to develop a new business model in its new home after its overall funding was reduced to zero in grants announced on Friday.

ENO said his move scored “the beginning of a new chapter”And would create“ new audiences and go beyond London ”. Its new base should be Manchester, although ENO will continue to manage and perform at its London home, the Coliseum, “maximizing it as a commercial resource”.

Related: ‘About as Big as Possible’: Behind the Scenes of Wagner’s The Valkyrie at the English National Opera

In addition to the specific grant to ENO, 24 arts organizations received money from ACE to relocate out of the capital by October 2024. The government instructed ACE earlier this year to spend more money on arts organizations outside London as part of its program leveling.

“We just had to make some very hateful choices,” said Nick Serota, president of ACE.

Among those whose funding has been reduced to zero is the Donmar Warehouse theater in central London. Sam Mendes, the theater’s founding artistic director, said it was a “short-sighted decision that will do lasting damage to the industry at large.”

He added: “The Donmar has been at the heart of British theater for three decades and has a hard-won legacy of punching well above its weight in both ambition and scope. It is a world famous and extremely influential theater, and the UK cannot afford to put it at risk ”.

Overall, ACE has allocated £ 446 million annually over the next three years to 990 arts organizations in what Darren Henley, its CEO, has called “the largest spread of investment in the country”. The money comes from the government and the National Lottery.

Among the beneficiaries were 276 organizations that had not previously received funding from the Arts Council. ACE declined to say how many organizations had been removed from its “portfolio”.

Among the newcomers were Manchester’s National Football Museum, Touretteshero, which celebrates “the humor and creativity of Tourette’s syndrome, the Postal Museum in London and Blackpool Illuminations.

Ballet Black, which offers a platform to historically underrepresented black dancers, saw its grant nearly doubled to £ 424,000 and Bamboozle, a Leicester-based traveling theater company for children with autism spectrum or learning disabilities, received a 50 % increase in funding.

Henley said: “We wanted to make sure the portfolio reflects the look and feel of England in the 21st century.”

More than £ 43m of the total was spent on ‘Leveling Up for Culture Places’ – towns and cities identified as historically underserved by public spending on the arts. They include Mansfield, Gloucester, Stoke and Slough.

London has yet to see the largest investment with the allocation of 152 million pounds per year, a third of the total. The South West received the least funding, with £ 37 million earmarked for 33 organizations.

Theaters were the largest beneficiaries across the country, with total grants of £ 111 million. Libraries got the smallest chunk of money, with 4 million pounds.

Some of the biggest names in the capital have seen their subsidies frozen or cut at a time when they face exponentially rising costs and falling box office sales.

The National Theater said cutting its funding by 5% to £ 16.1 million a year “would present challenges”, but was “grateful for the financial support … especially given the tough times many people are facing. facing “. There has been no increase in funding for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the English National Ballet grant has increased from £ 6.2 million to £ 6.3 million.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said that £ 50m of cuts in funding for the arts in London “could not have come at a worse time as arts organizations already face a triple whammy of rising operating costs. energy bills and the impact of both the pandemic and the cost of living crisis on audience figures “.

Serota said ENO’s decision to move out of the capital was “their idea, not the one we gave them. They have long wanted to do more outside of London. And the potential for them working from a base in the north is quite exciting ”.

He acknowledged that removing regular opera house funding would be a challenge, but “the amount of money we had to take out of London made it necessary to look at a number of larger organizations.”

ACE had been clear for several years that it wanted to “do more outside London for communities that previously had no public funding for art.”

This year, it received 1,700 funding applications, up from 1,100 in the previous round five years ago. “It is right to respond to energy, imagination and opportunities across the country. I don’t think we shouldn’t apologize for that. “

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