Over the last few days we have listened to lots of thoughts and concerns about our Food and Drink Policy, and how it varies according to which genre of performance one comes to see at the London Coliseum. It’s really important we get the policy right – it’s central to our ethos that everyone who comes through our doors feels completely welcome.
When we set our Food and Drink Policy last year, we spoke with a wide range of people to establish what might work best; we got some really helpful feedback from audiences, London theatre owners, front-of-house staff and specialist security companies. The overwhelming view was that we should tailor our approach to reflect the wide range of work we stage, ensuring our policy for each different genre – whether it be opera, dance, musical theatre or one-off concerts – was comparable with the policies of other venues presenting similar work.
After the feedback this weekend we were concerned that our original tailored policy gave some people the impression that we were taking an elitist approach to opera, yet this approach couldn’t be further from the truth. ENO was built on presenting opera for all – that’s why we sing in English, for instance, it’s why we give away thousands of tickets to our dress rehearsals and it’s why a fifth of all of our opera tickets are priced at £20 or less. Offering opera for everyone is in our DNA.
We’ve updated our policy so that it’s consistent across all of our work. Other than sealed water bottles, we won’t allow any food or drink to be brought into the Coliseum from outside for any performance, irrespective of genre. If your water bottle has been opened or is partially full we will ask you to either empty it and refill it with the free water we provide inside the building, or leave the bottle with us to recycle. Our full policy can be found here.
This is about being consistent and fair to everyone. As ever, we will provide filtered water for free at every level and in every bar at the Coliseum. As a licence holder, we have a duty of care to our audience and among those legal obligations, we have to prevent public nuisance, protect public health, safely protect children and secure public safety and so, as with any bar, this means ensuring people don’t consume their own alcohol in the venue. As we always have done, audience members with dietary or access requirements can contact us before they arrive so we can ensure that they are able to bring in whatever they need for medical reasons.
It’s clear to us all at ENO and the London Coliseum that our food and drink policy needed finessing and this tailored policy may have given the wrong impression about us and our values. We are really sorry if that was the case. ENO is for everyone – that’s why we have listened, responded and made these changes quickly. Thank you to everyone who raised their concerns with us and please keep giving us feedback – it’s what keeps us improving.
We hope to welcome you to the London Coliseum to enjoy a performance with us in the future.
Stuart Murphy, CEO