In an interview on BBC’s Front Row, I returned to a simple solution for Britain’s perpetual opera crisis.
Over the past 25 years, one or other of the Arts Council England’s biggest clients – Royal Opera House, English National Opera, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company – has been under threat of cuts or closure after falling foul of ACE’s arrogant bureaucrats and budgetary controls.
Put simply, ACE has proved itself inadequate time and again in dealing with major international companies. It has conveyed uncertainty instead of confidence, hostility instead of support.
The best way to assure long-term budgetary stability at the four companies is to remove them from ACE control and place them – like the British Museum and national galleries – under direct funding from government, through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The ACE is not competent at handling big artistic enterprises.
You can hear the interview here (just after the 10 minute mark).