English National Opera to give free tickets to under-18s
The English National Opera (ENO) has announced it will give free tickets to under-18s for its Spring 2019 season.
Balcony tickets will be made available on Saturdays as a way of engaging young people in opera.
Adults who pay full price for balcony tickets will also be able to bring up to four under 16s free to the London Coliseum.
The scheme will also be open to groups on schools wanting to visit.
Stuart Murphy, who is CEO of the ENO, said: "We were founded on the belief that opera is for everyone. We strive to continually stage opera of world class quality and bring it to as many people as possible.
"Removing cost as a barrier to entry for under-18s is a seismic leap forward for ENO and for opera as a whole, and we hope to entice as many under-18s as possible, from the musically obsessed, to the just plain curious.
"ENO is founded on passion and we want young audiences to feel alternately passionate, rowdy, excited and transfixed. We can't wait to welcome them to the London Coliseum."
The tickets will be available for performances of Akhnaten, La Boheme, The Merry Widow, The Magic Flute and Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel.
The scheme will also offer discounts for students or anyone between 16 and 29.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: "The arts can be transformative for young people and no genre should be deemed too elite or out of reach.
"This scheme is an excellent way to introduce more young people to opera and will ensure that people of all ages and backgrounds can experience world-class performances at the English National Opera."
The move comes as the ENO aims to deliver its mission statement, which is that opera should be accessible to everyone.
Part of the statement reads: "We bring our productions to the widest possible audience, whether at the London Coliseum, nationally or internationally.
"We make our work accessible by offering a large proportion of tickets at affordable prices, and by distributing it widely on screen and via digital media."
After "facing bankruptcy" in recent years due to financial problems, the ENO appears to be back on track after becoming a national portfolio provider under the Arts Council.