Glyndebourne regrets to announce that it will no longer be able to tour as planned in 2023, following a reduction to its Arts Council England (ACE) funding for touring and its learning and engagement work.
Glyndebourne’s application to join Arts Council England’s 2023 – 2026 National Portfolio was successful, but the £800,000 annual funding offered for that period is at a lower level than applied for. It is half the amount that was received during the previous NPO funding period (2018 – 2022).
The cut comes at a time of rising costs and follows a number of years over which the company has absorbed losses from its autumn tour, which has always been significantly underwritten by the Glyndebourne Festival; the Festival receives no public subsidy. Following the Arts Council announcement in November, Glyndebourne has been exploring alternative ways to make touring financially viable, without success.
The Glyndebourne Tour launched in 1968 with support from ACE to take the company’s operas to broad audiences around the country and provide a launch pad to emerging talent. In the more than fifty years since, it has been responsible for launching the careers of numerous UK and international artists.
Richard Davidson-Houston, Managing Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘The latest funding settlement from Arts Council England is devastating for many in the opera sector, which was targeted with significant cuts. It risks undermining the delicate ecosystem in which we operate.
These cuts have been justified in part by the need to redirect public funding to support culture in the regions. In this context, the decision to reduce Glyndebourne’s funding by 50% appears contradictory because it has the direct, inevitable and foreseeable consequence of rendering our tour financially unsustainable.
This news adds to a series of setbacks for freelancers, is disappointing for our loyal venue partners and worsens cultural provision for audiences around the country who have enjoyed Glyndebourne’s world-class opera productions at an affordable price in their local area for more than 50 years.’
Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘It is a huge blow to have to cancel our tour in 2023 which would have taken us to Liverpool, Canterbury, Norwich and Milton Keynes. Alongside main stage performances, we had planned exciting opportunities for people in those locations to make music with Glyndebourne in their community. This would have seen hundreds of children singing with the Glyndebourne Chorus, workshops in care homes and chamber music recitals in universities. Sadly, this autumn we will not be able to offer these extraordinary opera experiences so widely across England.
However, whenever faced with adversity, Glyndebourne responds with creativity and innovation. So we will continue our tradition of performing full-scale opera and concerts in the autumn here at Glyndebourne and build on our longstanding talent development and learning and engagement activity as part of our mission to enrich the lives of as many people as possible through opera.’
Full details of a revised programme of activity at Glyndebourne in autumn 2023 will be published in the coming weeks.