London Coliseum

English National Opera to still perform at London Coliseum despite relocation plans

The English National Opera (ENO) will move its main base out of London but will continue to perform at the London Coliseum.

The move will be supported by a £24 million investment from Arts Council England (ACE), spanning 2024-25 and 2025-26.

An exact location has not been specified, but the English National Opera is considering a variety of options, such as: Hull, Newcastle, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Manchester.

Nick Tapper, senior officer for advocacy and communications at ACE, said: “English National Opera’s developing plans are based on a reimagined artistic and business model with a primary base out of London, whilst continuing to own, manage and put-on work at the London Coliseum.

“The Arts Council also delivered on the instruction from government to benefit areas outside of London, to increase investment in the rest of the country by 2026, and to reduce its overall current investment in the National Portfolio in London.”

It was previously reported that ENO was to continue receiving funds on the condition it moved out London, after its annual grant was cut from £12.8 million to zero in November 2022.

Darren Henley, chief executive of ACE, said: “We know this means a challenging period of change for the company and its staff, but it will also mean opera for more people in the long term and contributes to the levelling up of cultural investment.”

The relocation has been controversial, with a survey by Equity, the union representing chorus members, suggesting most ENO members would have to leave their jobs.

ENO is one of the leading opera companies in the UK and has been based at the London Coliseum for over 50 years.

Founded in 1931 as the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company by theatrical manager and producer Lilian Baylis, becoming the English National Opera in 1974, ENO aims to bring opera to a wider audience by conducting performances in English.

Due to oversubscription, ENO was not awarded funding in ACE’s 2023-2026 portfolio, but would acquire a ‘ringfenced’ £17 million to support the three-year long transition.

After reconsideration, the investment was increased from £17 million to £24 million to provide additional help for the transition.

For more information about the English National Opera, visit the ENO website.

Featured image credit: Gareth Williams, “The Coliseum Theatre London (April 2009)”, Flickr (Creative Commons) (CC BY 2.0)

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