To register your school or college for Design Challenge (FE), starting in September 2018, please complete the following short form. Please note that both CPDs on 6 and 7 September are now fully booked. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please email

Submitting Your Entires

Submission is now open for entries for Design Challenge FE and HE/Foundation Degree Level, and closes on Thursday 14 February 2019. Students will need to submit entries to their college/university first. Teachers should then send the following materials for each finalist to the Royal Opera House via the Submittable platform:

  • 90 second video of the student pitching their design. They should use their sketchbook to help demonstrate how they have responded to the brief and the director’s vision.
  • Three photos of the student’s completed design.
  • College judging notes about the entry, including why they have been selected as a finalist or runner up.

For further information on shortlisting and submitting entries, please download our judging guidelines.

This year’s Design Challenge project will focus on Kenneth Macmillan’s 20th-century masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet. Please click on one of the four design pathways for the design brief and additional resources.


The project runs annually across the Autumn term, with internal shortlisting and finalist submissions happening between January and February, and the winners event in March. Key dates for Design Challenge (FE) are as follows:

Design Challenge Launch: Introducing Kenneth Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet | Thursday 7 June 16.00- 18.00 | High House Production Park, Purfleet, RM19 1AF

Design Challenge CPD | Thursday 6 September 10.00-15.30 | Victoria and Albert Museum, London, SW7 2RL *FULLY BOOKED

NEW CPD DATE ADDED: Design Challenge CPD | Friday 7 September 10.00-15.30 | Victoria and Albert Museum, London, SW7 2RL

Deadline for Finalists’ Submission Online | Thursday 14 February 18.00

Winners Announcement Online | Friday 1 March 12.00pm

Winners Exhibition and Celebration Day | Thursday 28 March | Royal Opera House, London, WC2E 9DD

Teacher Events and CPD Opportunities:

Design Challenge Launch: Introducing Kenneth Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet*

Teachers can expect to:

  • Find out about Kenneth Macmillan’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet.
  • Be introduced to the design process for ballet, and hear from the director about how to approach the brief.
  • Hear from previous winners and Design Challenge judges.
  • See winning portfolios and entries from previous years.

Design Challenge Teacher CPD*

Teachers can expect to:

  • Learn about the six stages of design and how to implement them with your students.
  • Take part in a series of practical activities designed to generate ideas quickly in your classroom.
  • Meet new and experienced Design Challenge teachers to share tips and practice for your chosen design pathways.
  • Visit the Theatre and Performance gallery at the V&A and respond to the collections of model boxes, costumes, performance photographs and marketing pieces.

*Please note that these events are free to attend, but booking is essential as we have a limited number of spaces. Please complete the registration form to reserve your space.

Director's Visions:

The Director’s Visions are available to download here. Each student will choose one of the four Director’s Visions to focus their design ideas.

The close collaboration and full understanding between a director and a designer is an essential part of every production and crucially important to the successful execution of the conceptual vision of the director.

In your final design you will need to show concrete knowledge of the production and of opera or ballet as an art form, with a clear demonstration of how this knowledge informs your design ideas.

The Prize:

A panel of Royal Opera House makers will judge the finalists’ entries and will agree on a winner for each of the four categories. The director will also choose the winner or the ‘Director’s Choice Award’ for their standout entry. See the winners work from the 2017/18 programme here.

The five winners will be invited to exhibit their work at the Schools Matinee on Thursday 28 March 2019. They will have an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Royal Opera House, watch The Royal Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet, and spend the rest of the afternoon with industry professionals in the relevant ROH department.

Previous Design Challenge winners have often then successfully applied for work experience and apprenticeships at the Royal Opera House and gone on to have careers in the creative industries.

The Judging Process:

Click here to watch our video on how to judge an entry.

Colleges will undertake their own shortlisting process, selecting finalists for each category.

Click here for our winners’ article to see last year’s winners’ entries and read the judges’ comments.

Judging template

Please download our judging template for your internal judging process.

Things to consider

  • How can you make the judging process as creative as the design process?
  • How can you celebrate all the entries within your college and local area?
  • Who will your judges be? You could invite a local designer or director, course tutors, or heads of faculty.
  • Have you considered the design process as well as the final design in your selection?
  • Has the student shown how they came to their final design and have they demonstrated their research techniques and understanding of the process?
  • Does the student take the brief on a creative journey of exploration based on the Director’s Vision?
  • Does the portfolio demonstrate the wider design or technical assumptions the student has made in order to achieve their final piece?
  • Does the final design fulfill the needs of the project (for example, does it reflect the Director’s Vision and technical requirements, such as movement for costume design or relevant information for marketing strategy)?
  • How can you provide feedback for students?


When your students have completed their final product, they can be presented with a participation certificate, downloadable here: participation certificate.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please contact the Design Challenge Team on 01708 891200 or email