- The London Assembly has made a unanimous cross party call for Arts Council England to end its requirement to move ENO outside of London
- ENO workers and campaign supporters packed the public gallery to hear the motion on the ENO adopted unanimously
- Assembly Members await an invitation to a meeting with ACE CEO Darren Henley to discuss their concerns
The London Assembly has formally raised its objection to the Arts Council’s shock decision to defund the English National Opera and require it to move out of London, in a unanimous vote receiving cross-party support.
ENO workers who are members of Equity and the Musicians' Union packed the public gallery on Thursday afternoon, along with campaign supporters, to hear the motion tabled by Elly Baker AM from the City Hall Labour Group.
Assembly members speaking in support included Andrew Boff (Conservatives), Joanne McCartney (Labour), Ann Clarke (Labour), Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem), Zack Polanski (Greens), and Sakina Sheikh (Labour).
The motion called for no job losses at the ENO as a result of funding cuts, and demanded that Arts Council England (ACE) “end its requirement for the ENO to establish a primary base out of London,” a move that Equity fears will lead to redundancies and rehiring creative workers on precarious, freelance contracts.
The motion was moved by Joanne McCartney AM at the London Assembly’s plenary session, and called on the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to intervene with ACE and the Secretary of State for Culture over the proposed move.
Any such move outside of London will cause significant job losses at the opera company due to the derisory funding offered by ACE to the ENO to facilitate the move. Chorus members currently engaged at the ENO represent one-third of the permanent opera chorus workforce in the country, and the stage management roles are rare permanent jobs in the industry. Equity believes that the costs of a move outside of London would require the ENO to make redundancies to these high quality, unionised roles and reengage people on precarious, freelance contracts.
The full motion can be found here.