English National Opera (Theatre)

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English National Opera
London Coliseum
St. Martin's Lane
London WC2N 4ES


Lilian Baylis, at the age of 23, presents a series of opera recitals at the Old Vic theatre.


She goes to establish a theatre company at the Old Vic, initially performing cut-down versions of Shakespeare.


Lilian Baylis takes on a small group of dancers (the ballet company later separated from Vic-Wells and eventually renamed: The Royal Ballet).


Sadler's Wells Theatre opens and the Vic-Wells Opera Company is formed. Initially the Company performs at both the Old Vic and Sadlers' Wells.


Lilian Baylis dies.

World War II

During World War II Sadler's Wells is requisitioned and the Company moves to Burnley, touring the Country to raise war-time spirits.


Sadler's Wells re-opens with Britten's Peter Grimes, introducing the first English opera composer since Purcell to receive international acclaim.


Managing Director Stephen Arlen moves Sadler's Wells Opera from Sadler's Wells Theatre to the London Coliseum.


Sadler's Wells Opera becomes English National Opera (ENO).


ENO is the first British opera company to tour the United States.


ENO is the first major foreign opera company to tour the former Soviet Union.


ENO acquires the freehold to the London Coliseum.


The Company embarks on a four year restoration programme on its home the London Coliseum.

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Alternative Company Names

  • ENO
  • English National Opera and Punchdrunk