Hi everyone! I hope that you had a great start to the season, or academic year. Between university classes starting back up, fresher’s week, vocational classes, and rehearsals starting for upcoming performances, I’ve been super busy (and loving it)! Something else I’ve been working on is promoting the Royal Opera House programme for students and young people, Young ROH, around campus. As you probably know already, the opera house is one of my absolute favourite places in London, and I love going to watch The Royal Ballet to get inspired.
What you might not know is that going to the ballet or the opera can actually be super cheap, and if you’re a student or aged 16-25 then there are loads of great deals you should be taking advantage of! I’m not selling anything here- the scheme is free to join, but I think that if more people knew the deals on offer, then more people would take advantage of it and go to see great performances. Let me tell you, nothing keeps you inspired as an artist as much as seeing live performance. Most of my work is based on increasing accessibility in the arts, and this is a way that more people can enjoy ballet and opera who might be staying away because of the cost or because they think they’re not the right type of person to enjoy those activities.
So, what exactly is Young ROH? It’s the Royal Opera House’s scheme that provides a multitude of benefits to students and those aged 16-25. ROH put aside over 10,000 dedicated tickets just for students and offer all sorts of special discounts and benefits to get more young people interested in ballet and opera.
What are the benefits?
- The main attraction is- cheap tickets! And I don’t mean they’re £100 instead of £150. I’m talking about seats for £1! There are a number of performances each season in which the entire amphitheatre is reserved for students, with tickets costing between £1 and £20. There is also a whole-house performance just for students once a year, with tickets from £1 to £25, so if you’ve always wanted to sit in the orchestra stalls or grand tier, it’s the perfect chance! The student performances aren’t just a practicing ground for lower-ranked performers, either, they’re top-notch performances with the big names you expect to see on any ROH programme.
- In addition to these student performances, there are at least ten slips and standing tickets put aside for every single performance especially for students at face value (about £4- £9.) I’ve gotten a £4 standing ticket to see a triple bill before, and it was an amazing experience! I watched half from standing which was great, and someone in the front row of the amphitheatre never showed so the usher let me watch the second half of the performance from the front row. Not bad for £4! There are also last-minute Student Standby tickets, where any unsold tickets for performances are offered to students for £10. Great if you can get to London easily and a good opportunity to see new things you’re not sure about without investing too much in them!
- You also get priority booking ahead of the general public, so you can get your choice of tickets and shows. My top tip: if you want the best seats for the student performances, get in there early as soon as student booking opens at 9am and you can take your pick!
- You get discounted prices on programmes (they’re usually around £4 instead of around £12, and believe me unless you’ve researched the storyline thoroughly online it’s good to have it to hand so you know what’s going on! Also makes a good read for the tube home). And let’s not forget that all-important discounted bar! You can get special prices on certain drinks on the menu when student performances are on, including softs, beer, wine, prosecco and spirits. Great in itself, and especially if you’re going on to a night out afterwards!
- Special student insights: the Royal Opera House run Insights events, which range from watching the royal ballet in class and rehearsals, to interviews and discussions with performers and other experts, and talks relating to the history and content of different ballets (really interesting in themselves and also great material for essays if you’re a dance or music student). I’ve watched a discussion on Kenneth MacMillan and his ballets (between a dance critic and his wife) and I’ve also watched The Royal Ballet take company class on stage, which was a really incredible insight into life at The Royal Ballet, and an inspiring experience as a dancer.
- During the student whole-house performance, there are a whole bunch of activities going on front-of-house. Last season it was Swan Lake, and there were amazing decorations, themed cocktails, a craft table to make feathered hair accessories, selfie stations, live musicians and performers, and stalls from several different backstage departments, including costume, props, and even archives. It was such a special evening!
How do you join?
Just click here to sign up. When you enter your details, use your personal email, not your student one, because then you’ll automatically be moved over to the graduate scheme after you graduate, and you can continue to get benefits for longer. Make sure you agree to the ROH contacting you via email, otherwise you won’t know when the student booking opens (in my experience they never send any spam). That’s it! It’s completely free and there are so many benefits to take advantage of.
And don’t worry if you’re not much of a ballet fan- The Royal Ballet have some amazing neoclassical and contemporary pieces in their repertoire, too. In fact, there’s a student amphitheatre performance coming up in November featuring Wayne McGregor’s Infra, Balanchine’s Symphony in C and a world premiere of The Unknown Soldier by Alastair Marriott. And don’t be put off if you’re a first-timer! I’ve never been to the opera, but I’ll definitely be booking in to this year’s whole-house student performance of Billy Budd. The student performances have a really vibrant, unpretentious atmosphere, so it’s a great environment to dip your toe in the water.
If you’ve been to the opera house share your memories in the comments!