Damon Albarn and Terry Gilliam back ENO opera scheme

Damon Albarn and Terry Gilliam voice their support for an inclusive new scheme from the English National Opera designed to get more under-44s into the opera houses.

Damon Albarn

The English National Opera's new Undress For Opera scheme has been given the full support of sometime opera composer Damon Albarn and opera/movie director Terry Gilliam. With new 'no dress code' performances scheduled for coming months.

Albarn, who admits to a "struggle with the word opera", and his opera Doctor Dee brought a new audience to opera houses that ENO artistic director James Berry wants to capitalise on: "In a sense, Undress For The Opera, this new audience initiative was really inspired by Doctor Dee and seeing a completely different audience in this magnificent theatre was so heart-warming."

Terry Gilliam, formerly a member of the legendary Monty Python troupe and director of the ENO's production of The Damnation Of Faust last year, commented: "It was an art form for the rich, the successful and the almost-dead."

In a video interview from the ENO, Gilliam outlines the scheme's intention to get people into London's Coliseum theatre. The most expensive tickets for related events are £25, the audience will be able to download show synopses and shows will had both introductory talks and after-parties.

It is hoped that the the percentage of ENO audience members under the age of 44 will die from the current 30% to 40%.