Morale blow for ENO as ex-boss forms rival venture

Morale blow for ENO as ex-boss forms rival venture


norman lebrecht

November 08, 2018

John Berry, ousted head of English National Opera has formed a new commercial opera and musical theatre venture with serious backers.

That’s bad enough news for ENO.

But John has also hired as his production director the scintillating  Terri-Jayne Griffin, whose resignation from ENO caused confidence to sink at every level of the Coliseum. The Berry-Griffin bandwaggon is up and running.

The new venture will announce its first shows later this month (and we hear there are a couple of crackers).

Press release below.



• SCENARIO TWO LTD created with Anthony Lilley OBE
• Supported by The Night Manager Producer, Stephen Garrett & former UMG Chairman Max Hole
• Terri-Jayne Griffin joins as Producing Director
• Details of first production to be announced this month [November 2018]

John Berry CBE is proud today to announce Scenario Two, a brand-new commercial theatre venture created with fellow creative industries heavyweight Anthony Lilley OBE, with support from Stephen Garrett and Max Hole CBE.

Scenario Two is a new company focused on commercial theatrical production in London, the rest of the UK and Internationally. It is based on Berry’s critically-acclaimed ENO model of bringing together the very best talent from the world of opera and musical theatre with top performers and creatives from other industries such as film, television and theatre. The company plans to create exciting new productions of classic musicals, develop new commissionsand thereby to attract both existing theatre-goers and newaudiences in the West End and major theatres around the world.

John Berry is best known for nearly a decade as Artistic Director of the ENO between 2005-2015, where his award-winning artistic programming included engaging Terry Gilliam to direct The Damnation of Faust and Benvenuto Cellini,, Mike Leigh to direct The Pirates of Penzance, and the creation of a new commercial musicals model which began with the sell out production of Sweeney Todd, with Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel. Since leaving the ENO, Berry has gone on to found Opera Ventures, a new charity which commissions innovative productions of contemporary opera with opera houses and festivals globally. The company’s first major production was an acclaimed collaboration with Scottish Opera and the Edinburgh International Festival of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek which transfers to New York in December 2018. Berry is Advisor to international opera houses in Moscow (Bolshoi) and Vienna.

He has co-founded Scenario Two with Anthony Lilley OBE, the producer and creative industries expert who met John during his time as a trustee of ENO. As CEO of Magic Lantern Productions, Anthony has won BAFTA, RTS and Peabody Awards by combining emerging digital technology with traditional creative media. He has worked with global media brands including Top Gear and Doctor Who and since returning to the arts has worked with Ai Wei Wei, The Space, Northern Ballet, Donmar Warehouse, Google Cultural Institute and many others. He has held non-executive roles at OfCOM and the Gambling Commission, is a current trustee of NESTA and holds a specially-created personal Professorship in Creative Industries at the Ulster University.

Joining as producing director is Terri-Jayne Griffin, one of the outstanding producers of her generation, who worked closely with Berry in the same role at ENO on numerous Olivier, Royal Philharmonic Society and Sky Arts Award-winning productions and international collaborations.


Supporters of the company include Stephen Garrett, producer of the recently lauded Night Manager, executive producer of such feature films as David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, and creator of such shows as Spooks, Hustle and Life on Mars through his company Kudos, and Max Hole CBE the former chairman of Universal Music Group International, who is widely credited with the company’s resurgence in the world of classical music via such artists as Daniel Barenboim and Milos Karadaglic, labels such as Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics, and live events such as the Bristol Proms.

Details of the company’s first production will be announced later this month.


John Berry said:

“The theatrical landscape in London is thrilling at the moment with many commercial and subsidized producers delivering breathtaking work. This new direction is therefore an exciting personal challenge for me and I’m enjoying the balance of commercial theatre and opera in my life.”

Anthony Lilley said:

“I’m delighted to be co-founding Scenario Two with Johnand, in doing so, returning to my first love; theatre, and, musicals. The team at Scenario Two and the artistic collaborators we are lining up are world leaders in their fields and I can’t wait to announce our first productions.”


  • John Borstlap says:

    How could this be competition to the ENO? It’s about musicals, not opera.

  • Saxon Broken says:

    First, it seems they plan to largely produce musicals. Second, they were largely booted out of the ENO because of a serious lack of budget discipline (despite the public subsidy). So it is surprising they think they will be successful in a purely commercial setting, where keeping to budget is much more important.