Opera North General Director, Richard Mantle comments:

30 March 2011

Opera North’s funding announcement for the next three years from Arts Council England is a mixed picture which presents serious challenges ahead.

Funding changes in cash terms

11/12 – cut 7% from 10/11

12/13 – cut 5% to £9.57m

13/14 – 2.3% increase to £9.8m

14/15 – 2.7% increase to £10.092m

By 13/14 the cuts represent an equivalent standstill in funding. In real terms against inflation, this is a significant 15% cut, whilst in cash terms 6.6%. The first year will be the most dramatic, as a result of other funding bodies also reducing their support. West Yorkshire Grants will cease its funding of £250,000 at the end of 2012. Leeds City Council has yet to announce its annual funding of Opera North and therefore approximately £1m from the local council is in jeopardy.

As the grant is effectively frozen over three years, this will undoubtedly impact on the work the Company can achieve and our reliance on support from other sources is therefore even more important. We await information on the Government’s initiative regarding its philanthropic scheme to be able to understand the potential impact this might have on the overall funding picture and enable growth in this sector when it announces sometime in the near future.

Whilst we are happy to have the work we do recognised by the level of funding we have received, we feel there is a serious oversight in the ACE funding strategy. Opera North, based in Yorkshire, being cut to the same degree as national organisations based in London and the south east does not reflect the differences and the unique economy affecting the regions. We feel that this should have been reflected to some degree in the funding decision.


Opera North is the largest funded arts organisation outside of London and as such produces a wealth of work and activity, staging approximately 300 performances, concerts and events, projects and talks each year nationwide. We reach over 17,000 young people in primary and secondary education across the north of England, train 600 teachers each year and over 8,000 people from outside formal education, including disadvantaged and excluded groups.