Royal Opera House and Covent Garden partner for festival of creativity: ROH Unlocked

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Today the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden unveil ROH Unlocked, a month-long cultural programme with a packed schedule of free pop-up performances, live music and workshops, as well as a chance to see some truly magnificent costume and pointe shoe displays across Covent Garden, as the estate transforms into a festival of dancing, singing and creativity.

ROH Unlocked will run for a month from 10 July and will be free to everyone to give families and visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the worlds of opera and ballet, showcasing the best the Royal Opera House has to offer and cementing Covent Garden as London’s cultural hotspot for the summer.

The festival will kick off on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th July, with free open-air performances staged at the ROH Summer Stage on the Piazza, nestled between the North and East side of Covent Garden’s historic Market Building. Visitors will be able to enjoy live performances from The Royal Opera Chorus, world-renowned soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, singing workshops led by multi-talented musician Aga-Serugo-Lugo, as well as participatory dance workshops based on The Royal Ballet’s much-loved Romeo and Juliet.  Families and visitors will be invited to participate in ballet barre classes.

On Sunday 11, ZooNation Youth Company will give a high-energy performance  and co-lead a workshop based on The Royal Ballet’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland giving audiences the chance to immerse themselves in both ballet and hip hop dance styles.

Visitors will also be invited to visit The ROH Story Shop, in partnership with Little Bulb theatre company, which will provide families with a twenty-minute immersive theatrical experience where you can enter the world of folklore and fairytales with Little Bulb as your guides. Visitors can listen to terrifically tall tales and swashbuckling short stories set to original music and prepare for mischief and magic along the way.

As part of the programme the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden will also launch The Theatrical Trail of Covent Garden, a self-guided adventure through Covent Garden’s Market Building and its historical streets to discover a series of windows which have been taken over by the Royal Opera House’s creative team. Bringing the iconic institution out onto the historical Covent Garden cobbles, everyone will be able to discover the history of one of London’s most famous neighbourhoods and the world’s best-known theatres, with highlights from Royal Opera and Royal Ballet.

The highlight of the trail sees a spectacular Pointe Shoe Window installation located at & Royal Opera House Arcade, showcasing the talents of some of the world’s finest designers. The installation will display pointe shoes re-imagined by ROKSANDA, ERDEM, Simone Rocha, Rejina Pyo, Halpern, and Liberty, in partnership with the Royal Opera House. Those visiting this spectacular installation will also have the chance to enter the pointe shoe ballot, with a chance to win one of the designer shoes, plus two tickets to an ROH performance, dinner for two at the Piazza Restaurant and a private tour of the Royal Opera House, by scanning the display’s QR code on their smartphones. The display will remain in place until 10 August, and ballot competition will remain in place until 31 August, with all proceeds benefiting the Royal Opera House Recovery Campaign.

ROH Unlocked is just one part of the Royal Opera House’s dedicated Learning and Participation programme, which has impact across the entire country: from curriculum-linked national school programmes Create and Sing, Create and Dance and Design and Make; a suite of activities for families and individuals in the beautiful spaces of our Covent Garden home, as well as a number of special events and performances to thank the NHS after the incredible work it has done over the course of the pandemic.

All ROH Unlocked activities have been carefully planned in line with government guidance.

Jillian Barker, Director of Learning and Participation at the Royal Opera House, said:

" As the Royal Opera House resumes performances, we are delighted to unveil this unique and joyful celebration of ballet and opera, as well as of our historic and iconic location at the heart of the Covent Garden Piazza.  With so many of us confined to our homes during the lockdown, it is fantastic to invite visitors to experience the best of ballet and opera, and to experience the beautiful and iconic Covent Garden location, in a COVID-secure way.”

Catherine Riccomini, Director of Marketing and Communications, Capco Covent Garden said:

“Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House have a rich history of collaboration and are proud to partner for ROH Unlocked. Covent Garden, central London's home of culture, will become the stage of this new production, where the iconic institution will spill out across the estate to showcase the best of ballet and opera. This is part of Covent Garden's summer programme offering visitors the chance to experience world-class culture for free, in the heart of the West End, alongside innovative dining and shopping experiences."

Generously supported by the Mohn Westlake Foundation

  • Capco Covent Garden – Presenting Partner