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Open Up project update February 2016

Following the closure of the Linbury Studio Theatre, you will soon see changes in other front of house areas.

By Alex Beard (Chief Executive)

8 February 2016 at 11.06am | 8 Comments

As our Open Up project to enhance the public spaces of our theatre gets underway, we are now beginning to experience some of the changes necessary in order to get the building work done as quickly as possible.

If you have been to the Royal Opera House very recently, you will have noticed that a new hoarding has gone up in the Front of House area. This is reducing the space for our audiences to get to the cloakroom at the end of a performance so we do ask that you try not to double back to meet your party in the Entrance Foyer but make your way out of the building together via the revolving doors and fire exits. This will help to make the exit as smooth as possible for everyone. Thank you for your co-operation.

Meanwhile, behind the hoardings, work has started to create a new staircase down to the lower level where the new toilets will be located. The Linbury Studio Theatre closed in mid-January and the team is currently decanting all the equipment in readiness for the complete transformation of the space into a second world-class stage within the building.

Regrettably, we are having to close the Royal Opera House to daytime visitors from Monday 15 February so that the complex schedule of works can be done as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to ensure that we can continue our performances on the main stage as usual throughout the project.  This means that Tea Dances, Big Sing Fridays, Afternoon Teas and lunchtime recitals will no longer be taking place within the building until early 2018. However, the Jette Parker Young Artists will be giving recitals in other venues so please check the website regularly for updates.

During Open Up we are taking the opportunity to expand our partnerships and present smaller scale productions in other theatres so please do join us for of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Barbican and Pleasure and 4.48 Psychosis at the Lyric Hammersmith later this Season.

Whilst we appreciate that the Open Up project will inevitably bring some disruption, we are very excited that the benefits of the new Linbury Theatre, the opened up spaces on the street level, the new catering offerings and cloakroom facilities will greatly enhance the experience for audiences and artists alike.

We would recommend that during the Open Up period you allow more time to reach your seat than usual, and that you always check the website for details of any changes before your visit. At certain points during coming months, entrances to the building as well as drop off and pick up points will be affected, but we will flag any such plans on the Open Up homepage.

We will do our very best to keep you up to date with factors that may affect your visit, and you may find our list of Open Up FAQs useful. These have been compiled in response to audience queries we have received so far. We very much welcome comments and questions about the project, so do get in touch by posting your comment below.

Find out more about Open Up

By Alex Beard (Chief Executive)

8 February 2016 at 11.06am

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged building, Linbury Studio Theatre, Open Up, refurbishment

This article has 8 comments

  1. elleG responded on 8 February 2016 at 11:31am Reply

    Having already experienced the 'log jam' of people in the area by the cloakroom and where the new hoarding has gone up, I am wondering whether the doors to the circular area under the Stalls Circle could remain open for longer so that people could use this as an alternative way through to the main foyer. It would still be possible to lock off the auditorium but keeping this circulation area open could help to reduce the pressure (which was actually quite dangerous after the matinee on 30th Jan when the throng included some wheelchairs and many small children). It has not been helpful when staff have prevented people going back up the 'ramp' alongside the hoarding towards the main foyer as this seemed to create more of a press of people because of the doubling back and standing looking confused which resulted from the instruction. Good luck with all of this: we will, I'm sure, think that the eventual improvements have been worth the inconvenience.

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 10 February 2016 at 10:57am

      Dear Linda,

      I am sorry that you had such an unpleasant experience when trying to exit the building on 30 January. The Pit Lobby, under the Stalls Circle and outside the Orchestra Stalls, is currently open at the end of a performance, after the auditorium has closed. As you say, this helps to create an alternative exit route away from the cloakroom area.

      We are continually reviewing the routes by which our audiences leave the building. We plan to increase staffing around the Pit Lobby to better offer this as an alternative route for customers to the Main Entrance Foyer exit. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience, any information you can share is of great help.

      Best wishes

  2. David Edmond responded on 8 February 2016 at 5:05pm Reply

    Good Afternoon
    I have followed with great interest the plans for the improvements at the ROH.
    Unless I've missed something; one opportunity seems to have been lost and that is the creation of an adequate exhibition space within or adjacent to, the theatre. Most international houses have some kind of museum and the ROH has a large archive largely unknown to the public and would provide a fascinating public facility; one which could have been linked to the shop and could be visited outside of performance times or during them. Any amount of exhibitions could be staged from the historic holdings up to the present day and the space could be made flexible to reflect small temporary exhibitions or larger themed ones. Apart from anything else it would cover its costs by a modest or reduced entrance charge to Friends with non members paying a small amount more. I wonder if the splendid educational charity set up by Dame Vivien Duffield might be persuaded to help?
    Imagine if were possible to locate it near the Royal Box so that visitors could peer in as part of the experience----
    David Edmond

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 11 February 2016 at 10:43am

      Hi David,

      Thank you for your suggestions with regards to exhibition space in the Royal Opera House after our Open Up project has been completed. Whilst there is not a dedicated ‘museum’ space in the plans, we will certainly be mounting exhibitions in the new, larger foyers created by Open Up and take the opportunity through these to give insight into our work and our archive.

      Best wishes,

  3. Joan Hopton responded on 9 February 2016 at 11:17pm Reply

    Will the amphitheatre terrace be affected either during or after the Open House work?
    I heard that it was going to be converted into an extension of the restaurant and am concerned that ordinary theatre goers will have much more limited access to it.

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 10 February 2016 at 2:57pm

      Dear Joan,

      The Open Up project at the Amphitheatre level includes a refurbished bar, restaurant and a glazed part of the terrace – which will allow us to use the space more throughout the year and create better circulation for audiences. Whilst these improvements are being carried out, alternate facilities will be provided. Therefore, the Open Up project team will phase this activity after work is complete in other areas.

      All best wishes,

  4. Peter Freeman responded on 11 February 2016 at 3:38pm Reply

    What a colossal waste of money after only 16 years of use! It would have been better spent on replacing the mostly terrible opera "productions" of works by dead composers with ones which fulfil their creators' clearly specified intentions, rather than placating the pseudo-intellectual and uninformed egos of uncultured so-called stage directors.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 12 February 2016 at 1:20pm

      Hi Peter,

      Open Up is being supported by private individuals and charitable foundations. We are not seeking any public funding for this project.



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