Skip to main content

Royal Opera House

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps (a) he and (b) Arts Council England is taking to increase accessibility to performances at the Royal Opera House to those on low incomes; and if he will make a statement. (201816)

The issues raised are a matter for the Royal Opera House and Arts Council England.

All Arts Council England regularly funded organisations take steps to ensure that the arts are as accessible to as many people as possible. Arts Council England has supplied the following information on the Royal Opera House.

In 2008-09, 40 per cent. of seats (260,000 seats) will cost £30 or below, 43,000

more seats than in the 2007-08 season. In addition, the Royal Opera House has a number of initiatives designed to widen access, including:

The Paul Hamlyn Club continues to provide 20 tickets at subsidised prices for each main stage performance throughout the year. Prices are £20 for opera and £12 for ballet. Since its inception three years ago, almost 6,000 people have benefited from the scheme.

The Student Standby scheme continues to flourish with more than 19,000 students now registered to receive email or text alerts for the £10 student standby tickets sold for performances at the last minute.

More than 44,000 tickets are available for performances in other spaces within the Opera House ranging from £6 to £28.50 including chamber operas by The Royal Opera in the Linbury Studio Theatre. There is a flat £5 ticket price for the annual programme of Firsts—an innovative programme of short contemporary works supported by the Helen Hamlyn Foundation.

In addition, there are more than 11,000 free tickets for daytime performances.

The noble Lord and Lady Laidlaw of Rothiemay are supporting the new family performances initiative, where families who have never previously attended a performance in the main auditorium are invited to come and enjoy either opera or ballet. The performance is surrounded by a programme of activities including creative workshops. Prices range between £5 and £20.

The BP Summer Big Screen programme reaches audiences in 17 different locations around the country from Aberdeen to Belfast to Leeds, London and Plymouth. Three different productions are relayed live from the Royal Opera House and are completely free.

This year sees the beginning of Royal Opera House cinema screenings of both opera and ballet into the UK and North America. To begin with these will be existing recordings, with live broadcasts being scheduled in due course. It is anticipated that tickets to the cinema screenings will be approximately £12.50 with concessions also available.