Welsh National Opera says Arts Council allocation 10% below standstill funding

While Welsh National Opera has again received the largest single Arts Council of Wales funding allocation, the company says it amounts to a 10 per cent cut against its application for standstill funding.

The company had applied for £4.5m but as part of Arts Council Wales’s Investment Review, it has received a conditional offer of £4.1m for the period of three years from 2024-2027.

As wwith all of this round offers to companies, it is made is conditional at this point and will be confirmed when ACW receives its budget from Welsh Government later this year. We now enter a period of discussion with ACW ahead of this offer being confirmed.

A Welsh National Opera spokesperson said: “We are very pleased to have received confirmation that we remain in Arts Council Wales’s national portfolio and have been given a conditional offer, and we look forward to working closely with ACW on the delivery of our work over the next three years.

“While we are naturally disappointed to have received a cut in our funding, we fully appreciate the difficult overall context in which funding decisions are being made and that cuts are impacting the whole sector. As a national company, we recognise the importance of our role to support the wider arts sector in Wales. We will look to build on our relationships with organisations small and large to identify more opportunities where we can collaborate and form strategic partnerships.

“Our priority now is to ensure that we continue to fulfil our role on a local, national and international level by showcasing Wales’s cultural excellence to the world and continuing our extensive programme of engagement work in communities throughout Wales and beyond.”

In addition WNO receives National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding from the Arts Councils of England s to provide work across Wales and to seven  cities and regions in England.

That funding was cut by 35 per cent in November and was quickly folloed by the company’s announcement that it would pull out of all future performances in Liverpool.

The company continues to tour to Bristol, Plymouth, Southampton, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Oxford.

The company has said that a strategic review is currently underway to take into account the impact of the COVID pandemic and the current economic climate, as well as the significant reduction from Arts Council England to WNO’s public funding.

The company has been working with Arts Council England since November to understand their funding decisions and to work towards a future plan which meets WNO’s needs and sits within the current funding context. The aim of this review is to ensure that our productions, concerts and Programme and Engagement activity is maintained and that WNO’s on and off-stage impact remains whilst the Company operates as efficiently and flexibly as possible within the resources available.

In June, WNO was awarded Arts Council England Stage 2 Transform Funding so the company can  change through a proposed new model to continue to be able to operate in its touring areas in England.

Main image from WNO’s current touring production of La Traviata

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