Stop the wasteful competitions says Mayor as English National Opera picks Greater Manchester

Factory International

English National Opera (ENO) has confirmed it is to relocate to Greater Manchester, with both Salford and Manchester hailing it as a win.

No details have been revealed at this stage about the “partnership” which will see ENO and Greater Manchester “work together” on plans to bring the company’s globally renowned cultural offer to a main base in the city-region by 2029.

There were warm words of congratulation from Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett, the leader of Manchester City Council Bev Craig and different venues around the city region which appear to see the relocation as an opportunity: The Lowry, Factory International and Gorton Monastery.

The ENO statement said: “Following a rigorous assessment process to decide on this new city base, ENO was excited by the close strategic alignment of Greater Manchester’s values and vision with its own, the potential opportunities to collaborate with the region’s vibrant arts ecology, and the chance to inspire and create work with and for new audiences and communities in Greater Manchester.”

But Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “Naturally, we’re disappointed not to have been chosen as we were able to satisfy every request by the ENO team and feel that we set out the strongest, most sustainable case that would allow the company to flourish as it enters its next chapter.

“Cities should not be pitted  against each other to fight for much-needed arts investment. Instead, what we need now is for Arts Council England to deliver a proper funding strategy – especially for those towns and cities that already invest heavily in their cultural economy. We do so because we genuinely believe in the power of the arts – and it’s long overdue that we start to receive recognition for the contributions we continue to give to the sector.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who had initially said he didn’t want the ENO to come if tehy were doing so under sufferance, said: “Greater Manchester’s world-renowned history of radical art, activism, and affecting change, and the cultural renaissance taking place across our towns and cities, makes it the ideal home for the ENO. We can’t wait to welcome them and see where this new partnership takes us.”