Reinstate the English National Opera's ACE Funding immediately

Reinstate the English National Opera's ACE Funding immediately

7 November 2022
Petition to
Lucy Frazer (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport)
Signatures: 87,154Next Goal: 150,000
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Why this petition matters

We call on the Government to radically rethink removing the English National Opera as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

The careers of singers, musicians, technical staff, creatives and other skilled workers  both permanent and freelance will be at risk. Hundreds of thousands of audiences in London and nationwide, on broadcast and digital will be without opera. Fund the ENO to continue their vital contribution to London’s global cultural status as well as supporting their levelling up agenda nationwide and their groundbreaking ENO Breathe NHS programme for long covid sufferers. ENO is Opera for Everyone!

On Friday 4 November Arts Council England announced the removal of ENO’s NPO (National Portfolio Organisation) status and consequent funding cut. The ENO was set up to bring opera for everyone and has been doing this very successfully for nearly 92 years:

  • 1 in 7 attendees to ENO now are under 35
  • 50% of the ENO audience is opera first timers
  • Tickets are totally free to under 21s (and starting at £10 for everyone else)
  • In our 21/22 season, over half of ENO’s audience came from outside of London
  • ENO introduced regular relaxed performances at the London Coliseum to benefit anyone who might normally not be able to access theatre.  

ENO is the training ground for the artistic talent of the future:

  • For over 90 years, ENO has showcased the best of British operatic talent on its stages – over 80% are British or British-trained
  • Since 1998, ENO has nurtured over 70 emerging singers through the ENO Harewood Programme, all of whom regularly return to the company and work internationally at the highest level
  • ENO was the first company in the UK to introduce fellowships for ethnically diverse orchestral musicians, choristers and directors and we’re currently recruiting for a Chorus Fellowship for Disabled People.

ENO Engage exists to open new possibilities for opera in people’s lives. We work with health trusts, schools, community organisations and partners across the country. In our 2021/22 season ENO Engage programmes reached 163,515 people, online or in-person including:

  • 85 NHS Trusts partnered with us on ENO Breathe, our breathing-retraining-through-singing programme
  • 800 schools, in London and nationally  
  • 18,000 primary school viewers watched our new Sky Kids TV show  

In total, £50m has been pulled from London’s arts funding. This is devastating to the cultural climate of the UK. 

Supporting this petition via supports it and the great work that do - if you would like to support the ENO please visit

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Signatures: 87,154Next Goal: 150,000
Support now


  • Lucy FrazerSecretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport