17 March 2024

Since 2020, Random Opera Company has been creating paid performance opportunities for singers, in the belief that professional artists ought to get paid for their work. We became the first UK opera company to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, to demonstrate this commitment. As a small opera company that has been building an audience for opera in Rugby from scratch, this required the investment of significant resources by the trustees over the past four years, in the hope of growing our supporters and getting to a financially sustainable model. Although we have made progress, we sadly still have a way to go before we achieve a sustainable model, and it is no longer possible for the trustees to provide the level of financial support that this approach requires.

Following a review of our future plans, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot sustain Random Opera Company under the current model. Despite our efforts to secure funding from patrons & trusts, we simply don’t have the profile or resources to be able to secure the kind of funding that we need at this stage. As a result, we are faced with a difficult decision. Either move the company to amateur status, meaning that we no longer offer fees to performers; or cease our activity entirely.

We recognise that professional singers will rightly feel that they deserve to be paid for their work. We agree, and fully respect that view. However, we also recognise that there are many singers (whether amateurs, emerging artists or those returning to the stage) who wish to gain further performance experience, and given the choice, would rather have an unpaid opportunity to perform opera, than to have no opportunity to perform.

We have made the decision that until we have a more established audience in Rugby, our main productions will be undertaken on an amateur basis, with no fees available. This will continue until we are better able to meet the cost of a production through ticket sales and fundraising. Where other opportunities arise (such as concert performances or workshops), we may still be able to offer fees.

We will continue to try to minimise the cost of being involved in a main production with Random Opera:
– Performers will not be charged fees to participate
– We will continue with our condensed rehearsal approach that ensures performers can fit rehearsals around a full-time job, or other performance opportunities.
– Free accommodation will continue to be provided for performers where needed.
– The trustees (and their families) will continue to put in hundreds of hours of unpaid work to produce, direct and promote the productions. As charity trustees, they do not receive any fees for any part of their involvement in Random Opera Company.

We consider that this decision enables us to best continue to fulfil the charitable objects of Random Opera Company.

We understand that many performers will be disappointed with this change in approach. We hope that the majority will understand why we felt it important to continue to create performance opportunities rather than stopping completely. We hope that it will not be forever, and that as we continue to build an audience in Rugby, that we will be able to return to offering paid performance opportunities in the future.

The Trustees of Random Opera Company