'Huge setback' for famous Sussex opera house as Glyndebourne cuts production tours

  • Watch report by ITV Meridian's Malcolm Shaw

An opera house in Sussex says it can no longer afford to take its productions out on tour around the country because of a drastic cut in funding.

The Glyndebourne opera house is blaming a 50% cut in funding for the 'sad' decision.

Glyndebourne started taking productions out on tour to towns and cities across the country in 1968 to help emerging artists to express themselves.

But it will now be scaling back this year describing the situation as having a 'huge impact' on other venues, audiences and performers.

The Arts Council says it's had to make difficult spending decisions, but overall subsidy of the arts across our region has increased by almost four million pounds. 

Glyndebourne has been taking productions on tour since 1968. Credit: ITV Meridian

Richard Davidson-Houston, Managing Director of Glyndebourne said: "With the funding halved, it's a very dramatic cut and it really meant there was no other option other than to stop touring.

"It's a huge setback and sadness. Something that has been going for so long and with such meaning and importance for us.

"The setbacks for the venues are also very serious, as they now have to re-programme their seasons, and absent opera - what else can they put in to maintain the diversity of provision for their audiences which is incredibly important for them.

"It's a setback for audiences who love to go to see international standard operas in their local theatres.

"But the thing that keeps me awake at night is the setback for the performers - and for the opera company and the freelancers on who this sector relies.

  • Richard Davidson-Houston, Managing Director of Glyndebourne

A spokesperson for Arts Council England said: "This was our most competitive round to date, and difficult decisions had to be made.

"We have a package of support available to organisations offered reduced levels of funding to help them to adapt.

"This round we have increased investment in touring opera at the small and mid-scale size by funding organisations such as English Touring Opera and OperaUpClose, and opera will continue to receive 40% of our overall investment in music. 

"Our funding across the South East has increased by £3.9 million per year, with 139 organisations being funded in the area and 52 organisations being awarded funding for the first time.

"In total in the new national portfolio, nearly one thousand organisations will receive a share of £446 million each year, creating a fairer spread of cultural investment in a wider range of work, across the whole country, benefitting more people."

Glyndebourne says its festival will continue to run from May until the end of August, with a revised programme for the autumn.