ROH swells the payroll

At a time when English National Opera is being pushed to the brink of extinction, it’s a bit upsetting to see that Covent Garden inflated its payroll last year to 1,057 people, a net increase of 33.

More discomfiting still, 19 of these people earned over £100,000.

That’s rich.

Looking at the staff list, everybody now seems to be a Head.

In the Audiences and Media department, there is a Director (Lucy Sinclair), a Head of ROH Media, a Head of Film and Broadcast, a Head of Publishing and Interpretation, a Head of online content.

In Press and Communications, there is a veteran Director (Chris Millard), a Head of press and communications, a Head of ballet press, a Head of opera press and various managers.

So many heads, so little media activity.

royal opera house covent garden

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  • Quite extraordinary; I imagine that most publicly-funded arts organisations will have reduced staffing levels in the face of current economic circumstances.

  • OK, so with an orchestra of 108, a chorus of 53 and a ballet company of 96, that leaves 800 other people on the payroll. Deduct another 50, say, for artistic staff (staff conductors, choreographers, repetiteurs etc) and 750 people doesn’t seem excessive to run effectively four full-scale organisations: an opera company, a ballet company, a major complex of Central London venues and the facility at Thurrock, not to mention a shop, three restaurants, two bars, etc.

    Easy – and lazy – to imply that admin is dead weight. Things like payroll and accounts departments might seem boring, but without them (or if they’re under-staffed) you have very major problems, very fast.

  • It seems our Colón Opera House to much chieftains and not so many Indians… but we can barely place nine tittles per year.

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