English National Opera has blamed a cut to its arts council funding and poor ticket sales for a £2 million loss made last year.
According to the company’s accounts for 2011/12, ENO’s overall deficit was £2.2 million, compared with a loss of just £55,000 in the previous year.
A statement issued by the company said the results “reflect the cut in Arts Council England funding in 2012 and the impact of a very difficult economic environment on ticket sales”, which it said had come in a “period of award-winning work, increased fundraising and strong international partnership contribution”.
ACE’s core funding for ENO, which is confirmed until March 2015, was £17.08 million in 2012/13 – a reduction of £1.3 million on the previous year.
ENO said: “We are tackling this on all fronts – continuing to work with international collaborators and fundraising creatively. In this challenging financial environment, we are also looking at the balance of work that we offer to our audiences and the ticket prices we charge.”
It added that its financial results would be “covered by the company’s reserves”.
In its accounts, ENO admits that the “key risks” it faces are “the ability to generate earned income through box office and fundraising” and its “ongoing reliance on ACE funding”.
However, it adds: “After making enquiries, the trustees have a reasonable expectation that the company and the group have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future.”
ENO staged 115 performances across the year, down from 134 in 2011. The company’s shows attracted a total audience of 188,000 at 71% capacity, compared with 214,000 attendances and 80% capacity the year before.
The opera company said it has designated funds “for strategic investment in new commissions and other artistic projects” of £216,000, down from £305,000 the previous year.
ENO has encountered financial difficulties a number of times over the last 15 years, and has received a string of bail outs from the arts council dating back to the late 1990s. However, it was told that its last tranche of extra government cash would be its last.
The company’s chairman Peter Bazalgette leaves ENO to take on the role of Arts Council England chair next month.