From the Royal Opera House:
The tragedy of Liam Scarlett’s death in April this year came as a profound shock to everyone in The Royal Ballet. The inquest into his death took place today, and the thoughts of everyone in The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera House are with his family, his friends and all others affected.
Liam joined The Royal Ballet in 2005 and had a long history with the company, to which he contributed his very considerable artistic talents, both as dancer and as a choreographer. After he retired as a dancer, he held the role of Artist in Residence from November 2012 to March 2020.
We have reflected deeply on the events of the last eighteen months. We have a duty of care to all of those who work for us and with us, and we take this duty profoundly seriously. We supported all those involved with the independent investigation, including Liam, throughout the process, and we are clear that the Royal Opera House must always be the safest artistic environment for everybody involved.
We have had thorough policies on safeguarding, wellbeing and equality and inclusion for many years, and have a number of robust reporting mechanisms in place. These include through an anonymous whistleblowing service – in place since 2016 – and processes to ensure thorough, fair and independent investigation of allegations. We also have a strict drugs and alcohol policy in place, with zero tolerance towards drug taking or drug possession. However, nothing is beyond improvement, and we have reviewed every element of our policies and practices to ensure that the highest standards are there for all who work with us – across the Royal Opera House, with visiting companies and with the wider industry.
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.