Fifty years on, the Tour continues to play a fundamental part in nurturing young talent and widening Glyndebourne’s audience each year writes Neil Matthews, Trusts & Foundations Manager.
This year we celebrate 50 years of the Glyndebourne Tour, which was developed by Sir George Christie in order to take our productions out on the road to broaden our audiences, whilst also providing development opportunities for up-and-coming talent. The Glyndebourne Tour, as well as our education programme, which was later formed in 1986, continue to play a vital role in opening hearts and minds to opera within communities local to Glyndebourne and across the country.
Maintaining financial independence is fundamental to Glyndebourne, and we are proud of running a financially stable, year-round operation, with a privately funded Festival that is able to support our Tour and education programmes. We truly value this financial independence as we believe it allows us to be original and inventive and take appropriate artistic risks, whilst providing necessary discipline to plan ahead. It is this financial independence that has enabled us to tour our productions for the last 50 years. Tour Box Office income covers approximately 40% of our (direct) Tour costs and our Arts Council grant a further 35%. Remaining costs are covered through generous donations from our supporters, Tour Membership subscriptions and subsidy from the Festival. The Festival bears all fixed costs – infrastructure, staff, productions etc – which remains so essential for us to be able to make the world-class opera we create accessible to more people by touring productions and subsidising ticket prices.
The Tour has reached over two million people with visits to 42 different venues across the UK and seven abroad, and has provided internationally acclaimed artists, such as Robin Ticciati, Gerald Finley, Emma Bell and Kate Royal, with the platform to launch their careers.
We continue to reach out to our generous Members and supporters, whom we believe share our ambition to open hearts and minds to opera, so that through our Tour and education programmes we can, with your support, excite and inspire future generations. The development and continuation of our Performances for Schools and Behind the Curtain programmes enhance this ambition.
In the coming years we will invest in new productions for the Tour, which includes Cendrillon in 2018, to help build our stock of tourable productions and provide a mix of repertoire to maximise the opportunity to build new audiences whilst maintaining our existing audience base. With the help of our supporters we will be able to build on our rich history of spotting and supporting talent through exciting programmes, including, for example, ‘On the Road’, a new development scheme on the Tour for young orchestral players; and ‘Balancing the Score’, a new development scheme for female composers.
We look forward to the next 50 eventful years of the Tour!