Just in: ENO co-opts Barbican boss

Just in: ENO co-opts Barbican boss


norman lebrecht

March 09, 2016

Struggling English National Opera has added Louise Jeffreys, Director of Arts at the Barbican Centre, to its board.

Good move?

She knows her way around but is not a raiser of cash, which is what ENO needs most – and soon.

Two Barbican bosses, John Tusa and Nick Kenyon, have previously sat on the ENO board. The seat is practically ex officio.

On the positive side, Louise has worked at both Bavarian State Opera and as tech director at ENO.


press release

Today, 9 March 2016, ENO announces that Louise Jeffreys is joining the ENO Board of Trustees with immediate effect.

Louise Jeffreys is Director of Arts at the Barbican Centre and is responsible for the formulation, implantation and delivery of the Barbican’s artistic programme and strategic vision. In particular, Louise has led on developing the Barbican’s relationships and presence in East London, resulting in a wider reach to a more diverse audience, and increasing income from rental and commercial deals, as well as partnership funding. Louise will contribute to ENO’s artistic and strategic vision and will sit on the Artistic Committee, led by fellow ENO Board Member Anthony Whitworth-Jones.

Jeffreys was previously Head of Theatre and Arts Projects at the Barbican, running bite(Barbican International Theatre Events) from 1999.bite became one of London’s most innovative artistic programmes, bringing leading international performers to the UK and co-commissioning some of the most influential artists and productions of the last decade.

Prior to the Barbican, Jeffreys’ previous roles include Administrative Director at the Nottingham Playhouse, Head of Production at Bayerische Staatsoper and Technical Director of English National Opera.




  • Guus Mostart says:

    A very smart move!

  • Eddie Mars says:

    Cressida Pollock is leading ENO to disaster. She is utterly inequipped to deal with the situation currently facing the company.

    When is the new Artistic Director going to be appointed? A proper CEO would have had a list of phone numbers in handbag. Cressida doesn’t even *know* who to ask, and thinks that a management consultancy company or a recruitment consultant can tell her.

    Having Louise Jeffreys cannot hurt, but it’s not the answer – because they are asking the wrong question.

  • Michael Hunt says:

    A great appointment. Louise is Team ENO through and through! They are lucky and wise to have her.

  • Sir Peter Jonas says:

    The Board of ENO do not heed or take kindly to advice and are behaving autocratically and irresponsibly towards the company, employees and art form that they are charged with protecting and supporting. They also fail to raise, from within their numbers and from their network of acquaintances, enough money to take up the financial slack after squeezing the maximum amount of financial income from the company’s work. This is on its own irresponsible. They have also failed to argue and fight ENO’s corner by directly confronting the ACE and by enlisting enough support in the political arena. These failures are impeachable but the sad truth is that it is employees, artists and the art form that will suffer the consequences. Over here, on the continent (deemed as irrelevantly “foreign” by the ENO Board) we have also had out battles to save opera companies over the last 25 years but threatened companies have survived because those responsible for them directly and indirectly as well as artists and committed support staff have fought back continually with civil courage and commitment. ENO is the bedrock of Opera in the UK. If the ACE can starve it to an untimely demise then the future of all Opera companies in the UK is threatened and the demise of the once proud Scottish Opera is a frightening precedent !!! Mark Wigglesworth MUST be listened to and needs a strong partner as artistic director who should be, together with him, the internal and external figurehead of the company inspiring great work and fighting for the art form, artists and a clear vision of the future. I have not seen or heard any evidence of vision in the utterances of the ENO Board or management since this crisis was made public.THIS is the true scandal.