English National Opera – The ENO is the national opera house for everyone. We were founded on the principle that we are open and accessible to anyone, whoever they are. We are passionate about the need to engage new and diverse audiences, and to reflect the diversity of contemporary society through our programme. We are committed to a working culture that is kind and inclusive rooted in our values of Trust, Togetherness, Creativity and Excellence.
The Cultural Inclusion Manifesto aligns with our beliefs and values at ENO. Our Learning and Participation department are using the next 12 months to engage with more consultancy, research and development work to help us develop a new strategy and theory of change that will inform how we, as an arts organisation, will develop work by, with and for those with special educational needs and disabilities, and to ensure this work is driven by consultancy/research and evidence and by the mission of social impact and change. And we do this through opera.
We believe the Cultural Inclusion Manifesto and the network of organisations that have committed to this manifesto, offer the valuable opportunity to share and reflect on findings and learnings, consult one another and support one another and this will only help ensure we are all delivering high quality, well-informed, meaningful work.
Below are the three principles that underpin ENO’s commitments to Inclusivity & Relevance – we feel the Cultural Inclusion Manifesto is aligned with these principles and commitments we’re making as an organisation, and being part of this network will only help strengthen these principles.
We want opera and the ENO to matter to people. We are committed to reimagining the relevance of the art form for audiences today through continually assessing how, where and why we make our work and with whom. As we continue to renew and update great operatic works of the past, we will challenge and interrogate the privilege and exclusion that the canon is built upon through a consultative, creative and enquiry based approach. And we are equally committed to our role in building new appeal and attraction to opera, telling a wider range of stories on stage and celebrating new voices and talent.
We believe that diversity enriches us and drives excellence in all that we do. We continue to commit to diverse and inclusive casting on stage, in the pit and in our creative teams, through a wide range of talent development initiatives and inclusive recruitment practices. We are committed to broadening the pool of talent in the industry, ensuring that both freelance and permanently employed areas of our workforce at all levels represent the diverse makeup of the country in which we live, and in so doing, elevating our work to new levels of excellence. We recognise the vitally important role we have to play in the wider cultural ecosystem, building and developing the pipeline for the future of world opera.
We are committed to an approach of ‘with, and for all’ We want to ensure that we listen to, and learn from, diverse voices and perspectives from both within and outside the organisation, ensuring that everyone feels welcome whether they step through the doors of the London Coliseum for the first time, participate in our learning programmes or join the ENO as their place of work. We will continue to identify, recognise and remove barriers to access, participation and involvement, working to ensure that our activities are constructed and delivered in a way that promotes awareness of the rights and needs of people from minority groups.
Whilst the three Principles are distinct, their points of intersection are also fundamental to how we drive sustainable change across art form, organisation and audiences.