Glyndebourne launches fund to support its freelance contractors

Glyndebourne Opera House in Sussex, England has launched the Glyndebourne Freelancer Fund to help support the freelancers who make up 70 percent of its workforce.

The company has committed to setting aside 10 percent of its annual freelance budget for supporting those who have lost their work through the pandemic. How the fund will be distributed will be decided over the coming weeks.

According to Glyndebourne’s Managing Director, Sarah Hopwood, ‘Over the past 15 months, we have all become much more aware of the imbalance between performing arts companies and the freelancers who make up 70% of the theatre workforce. Glyndebourne will only survive and thrive if we can call on the skills and expertise of those people and we’re determined to play a part in helping to create a new, more equitable support structure for them. Whilst we can’t change the future for freelancers on our own, we can lead the way, so I am really delighted to announce the launch of the Glyndebourne Freelancer Fund.’

Having cancelled its 2020 festival, Glyndebourne suffered multi-million-pound losses and is expected to suffer again this year with only half its usual audience permitted to enter. The company has received about £5 million in government support from the UK Cultural Recovery Fund, but that does not cover the losses. However, it acknowledges that many technical, artistic and creative freelancers have received no support whatsoever and the fund is being creative in its offer of help.

Photo: Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at Glyndebourne © Alastair Muir