The £27m scheme to ‘open up' the Royal Opera House in London has been given the go ahead by Westminster City Council. The plans will make the entrances and street-level public spaces of the Opera House more open and inviting to the public.
Alex Beard, the Chief Executive of Covent Garden, said,
The ‘Open Up' project aims significantly to enhance the experience for the public, artists and guest companies, to create new opportunities to inspire audiences with our art forms and to help this wonderful place come alive throughout the day as one of London's great cultural assets.
Architects at Stanton Williams are responsible for the project.
It will offer a series of legible and flexible spaces that can be inhabited and curated by the Royal Opera House and aims to bring a sense of the magic that is created each night on stage to the public areas.
A new glazed extension and entrance on Bow Street will provide passers-by with a clear view of the activities taking place inside, and an improved entrance onto the Covent Garden Piazza with additional foyer space will present and display the work of the Royal Opera House and encourage visitors to enjoy the building throughout the day as well as the evening.
The project includes a second theatre for the Royal Opera House within the shell of the Linbury Studio Theatre. The brief is to create a space that has warmth, comfort, and a distinct character, adaptable to different staging formats. Stanton Williams' design will bring it to the fore as a world class mid-scale theatre and an artistic laboratory for both the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera Companies.
Work will begin towards the end of this year and the project will take two years to complete.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.