English Touring Opera's response to Arts Council England national funding review

Thursday 31 March 2011

Yesterday, English Touring Opera received news that it will receive a 7.1% real-term increase in support from Arts Council England across the 5-year period 2011/15. The inclusion of English Touring Opera in ACE’s new National Portfolio Funding Programme highlights its recognition of ETO’s exceptional integration of opera production and participatory educational work, and of its unparalleled experience of touring high-quality opera to diverse audiences right across the UK.

Responding to yesterday’s news James Conway (General Director) said:

“Hearing that we have been awarded just what we asked for from Arts Council England comes as a real deliverance. Of course it comes with a rake of new commitments: we are going to have to run faster and faster to achieve the ambitious production and audience targets we set out, and we are certainly going to need to find lots of extra help.

But I guess it makes me feel confident that Arts Council England and other key partners are themselves confident that we can do this. And hell, it’s exciting! We might actually get to do King Priam, and Ottone, and our madly ambitious Spirit Level project.

Some excellent companies have been awarded revenue funding for the first time: ACE has been very brave in this respect, in tough times.

Some of our partner theatres have been less fortunate, and that does rather take the sugar out of the coffee. I have only just glanced at the list, but I worry about great theatres like the Northcott in Exeter and Malvern Theatres, because I care passionately about the good work they do for their communities and about regional drama. They are so well managed that I am sure they will come through this, supported by their audiences.”

Johnny Langridge, ETO’s Development Associate added:

“This is a tremendously exciting time in English Touring Opera’s development. The new grant from Arts Council England, beginning in 2012/13, will provide the crucial baseline funding that is needed in order to sustain the current level of activity and then, from 2013/14, expand upon and develop an already ambitious programme each year. Admittedly, a growth in activity will mean that each seat is subsidised to a lesser extent than ever before, but we will be able to reach a wider audience of all ages and abilities right across the UK; that is what is truly valuable.

With a reduced subsidy per audience member we, like all arts organisations at this time, will be working harder still to secure funds from other income streams that are required to take our work further. This will include and expand upon the vital and generous support that ETO receives from individuals, corporations and trusts and foundations. Certainly, as James Conway says, our legs will be moving much faster to achieve the ambitious goals that we have set ourselves but I am confident that ETO is on the move and now is a great time to get on board.”

For details of English Touring Opera’s current touring productions, click here or if you would like more information about how you can support and get involved with English Touring Opera’s work, click here.

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