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Royal Opera House Director of Development joins Future Cities Forum's Summer Awards 2023

Above: Amanda Saunders of the Royal Opera House

Future Cities Forum is delighted that Amanda Saunders, Director of Development at the Royal Opera House, will be joined our all-female judging panel for the Summer Awards 2023, to be held at The Haymarket Hotel, next month.

Amanda joined our cultural cities forum at the V&A last September where she talked about her work and the future development ambitions for the opera house, including training for young people in backstage crafts such as costume design.

The Royal Opera House was formed as the Covent Garden Opera Company in 1946, but behind it lies a tradition of operatic performance which goes back for more than 260 years at its home in Covent Garden, London. In each of the three theatres there have been on the site since 1732, opera has played an important role.

It continues to widen its audience through a range of innovative means: through cinema broadcasts, through television and radio broadcasts, through free You Tube broadcasts and through the BP Big Screens, which are broadcast for free to open spaces around the UK.

In a unique partnership with South Essex College and University of the Arts London, the Royal Opera House has established a new BA (Hons.) degree course in Costume Construction, delivered from the Centre’s bespoke workrooms.

High House Production Park, in Thurrock, is also home to the Backstage Centre; a flagship national training centre for Creative & Cultural Skills; and High House Artists’ Studios. The 39 artists’ studios and four work/live units are managed by Acme Studios.

Also on site are Grade II listed barns, from which the ROH has delivered a Learning and Community engagement programme for the local and wider community since 2006. Before this date the ROH Production Workshops were based in Bow, East London.

To date over 60,000 people have engaged with ROH Thurrock activity since 2007. They have participated in activities ranging from schools projects to teacher training, from work-based learning to fully-staged community operas. People in Thurrock have both been able to watch special performances and gain a very special insight into the behind-the-scenes process.

In April 2012, the Royal Opera House established ROH Bridge, which works to connect children and young people to great art and culture across Essex, North Kent, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire while promoting the importance of culture both in and out of schools.

In 2014 the Royal Opera House began the Thurrock Trailblazer programme, a Cultural Entitlement Initiative in partnership with Thurrock Council. It has been working with a wide range of cultural organizations to deliver both in and out of school activities.

Below: ROH set making studios at High House Production Park in Thurrock, Essex


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