ACE U-turn gives ENO funding reprieve

A concerted campaign of protest and support has seen Arts Council England reverse its funding cut to English National Opera for at least another year.

  ENO was the high profile funding loser in the initial ACE round of grants.

After a concerted high-profile campaign that included passionate debate in the Houses of Parliament from MPs across the political divide, it has been announced that English National Opera (ENO) will receive £11.46 million to sustain its productions and work for at least another year.

It followed the news late last year that ENO was to lose its annual £12.8 million grant and that it would have to leave its base in April 2023 to find a new home outside London.

The decision by Arts Council England (ACE) provoked widespread criticism — leaving the future of the company and its many employees at risk.

Shining example

It was argued that with 1 in 7 attendees to ENO under 35, 50% of the audience first time opera goers, 11% of the audience ethnically diverse, and with half of the ENO's audience came from outside London, it was actually a shining example of ACE's own long term strategic ambitions.

In addition, ENO was the first company in the UK to introduce fellowships for ethnically diverse orchestral musicians, choristers and directors and was in the process of recruiting a Chorus Fellowship for Disabled People.

Track record

Speaking to 4BR at the time, ENO Director of Music Martyn Brabbins said: "Our track record in producing world class operatic experiences at the London Coliseum is exemplary and has also been enhanced by a long standing and recognised commitment diversity and inclusion."

The outcry that followed caused both ACE a great deal of embarrassment and bad publicity, with CEO Darren Henley and colleagues enduring a caustic cross examination by MPs.

This grant will provide the ENO with stability and continuity, while they plan their futureCEO, Darren Henley

March 2024 and beyond

Now ACE has said it will invest National Lottery Funding until March 2024 to, "…sustain a programme of work at the ENO's home, the London Coliseum, and at the same time help the ENO start planning for a new base outside London by 2026". It also stated that further investment for 2024-26 would be subject to discussion and application.

Following the reversal of the decision, CEO, Darren Henley was reported as stating: "This grant will provide the ENO with stability and continuity, while they plan their future.

We want to back an exciting programme of work from the ENO in a new home, and make sure it stays part of the brilliant London arts offer at the Coliseum."

In response to the news, ENO chief executive, Stuart Murphy, said it would continue discussions with ACE in "good faith"and looked forward to agreeing funding levels until 2026.

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    

Alex Humphreys

Alex Humphreys to host National Youth Championships

January 31 • The BBC Newsround presenter and brass band player Alex Humphreys will host the 2023 National Youth Brass Championships in Stockport.

Matilda Lloyd

New global representation for trumpet star

January 31 • Former BBC Young Musician of the Year Brass finalist Matilda Lloyd is to be represented by management group HarrisonParrott.


A dangerous and ill thought through proposal

January 31 • Councils in Scotland are reportedly looking at making cuts that could directly affect the teaching of music and free music tuition in schools.


Trombone troubles...

January 31 • The British Trombone Society is hoping the international parcel carrier DPD will do the right thing to get a valuable instrument back to them.

Regent Hall Concerts - The January Band

Friday 3 February • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C2DJ

WFEL Fairey Band -

Sunday 5 February • Glossop Old Bandroom . Derby St.. SK138LP SK138LP

Regent Hall Concerts - Junior Guildhall Brass Band

Friday 10 February • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C2DJ

Contest: Norwegian National Brass Band Championships

Friday 10 February • Grieghallen, Bergen, N-5015 N-5015

Contest: Norwegian National Brass Band Championships

Saturday 11 February • Grieghallen, Bergen, N-5015 N-5015

Chadderton Band

January 31 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band and welcome all players of any age and ability on all sections of the band. Please come along and meet the band you will be very welcomed.

Leicestershire Co-op Band

January 30 • Leicestershire Co-op Band are looking for a PERCUSSIONIST for the 2023 Midlands Regional Championships (and beyond). Do you fancy the challenge of The Pilgrim's Progress under the artistic direction of Keith Leonard?

Newstead Brass

January 30 • Our Red Priest is still looking for an EEb Bass as we prepare for the midland championships with Martin Heartfield. Great chance to work with a great MD on this challenging but fun piece to rehearse.

Derek Renshaw

ABBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator.


 © 2023 4barsrest.com Ltd