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Royal Opera House announces string of initiatives in Doncaster under major new partnership

The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Photo: Alex Rumford

The Royal Opera House will work with every school in Doncaster and tour ballet to the city for the first time as part of a major new partnership project.

Under plans to develop long-term links with “focus areas” around the country, the organisation has unveiled a series of initiatives that it hopes will nurture new audiences and artists in Doncaster.

In partnership with performance venue Cast, the city’s culture development programme Doncaster Creates and its borough council, the ROH’s newly announced intentions include expanding its national learning programme in the area to work with every Doncaster school over the next three years.

A mass community engagement performance will also be staged there next year, in addition to a Royal Ballet gala, marking the first time in the company’s history that it has performed in Doncaster.

Elsewhere, the ROH’s talent development programme, Chance to Dance, will be expanded to dance schools in the area over the course of the partnership.

Royal Opera House chief executive Alex Beard said the Doncaster project was inspired by the organisation’s decade of work in Thurrock and its participation in Hull City of Culture.

Amy McGann, head of national programmes, highlighted the continued barriers to engagement with the arts felt by teachers, which the ROH wanted to address by embedding its work in Doncaster.

“There can be a ceiling in aspiration for young people in those areas, and we all know the amazing impact arts can have in terms of opening horizons. We are not parachuting in however, we are working and investing there in the long term, which is what we see ourselves doing more and more of – having focus areas across the country where we invest our energy and our support.”

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The Opera House announced its plans alongside a raft of new shows for 2019/20, including 17 new productions and six world premieres.

These include a new family opera based on graphic novel The Lost Thing. It is written by Jules Maxwell and directed by Ben Wright. The production will be staged with Candoco Dance Company, and will feature a cast of disabled and non-disabled performers.

The Lost Thing sits alongside Gerald Barry’s opera Alice’s Adventures Under Ground on a special programme for family audiences at the ROH.

Other new work includes The Dante Project, choreographed by Wayne McGregor, designed by Tacita Dean and featuring new music by Thomas Adès, and world premiere dance pieces by Liam Scarlett and Cathy Marston.

The Royal Opera will stage Robert Schumann and Bernard Foccroulle’s Zauberland, which has a text by Heinrich Heine and Martin Crimp and is directed by Katie Mitchell.

Other new productions include Strauss’ Elektra and Handel’s Agrippina, starring Joyce DiDonato.