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New costume centre in Thurrock to house more than 20,000 costumes and provide workrooms for students

Work starts on the new Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre, due to open in 2015.

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

14 July 2014 at 12.29pm | 3 Comments

Work has begun on the new Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre at the High House Production Park in Thurrock.

The Costume Centre, which is due to open in 2015, will house more than 20,000 costumes for opera and ballet productions currently in repertory, as well as the Royal Opera House archive collection, which includes around six thousand items that date back to the 19th century.

Currently, Royal Opera House costumes are kept in locations across the UK, including Aberdare and Dover; the new centre in Thurrock will hugely reduce the carbon footprint of transporting costumes, as well as allowing for more efficient management and preservation of costumes still in use. The centre will also provide permanent workrooms for students, in partnership with South Essex College, and offer specialist placements with the Royal Opera House Costume Department.

‘With the completion of the Costume Centre, there will be outstanding facilities for costume production and training, as well as for historic costumes and the running costume stock of the Royal Opera House all on site,’ says Matt Lane, Head of ROH Thurrock and Thames Gateway. ‘We know that these incredible materials and spaces will inspire visitors, excite learners and offer new opportunities for even more people to engage with the creative industries’.

The High House Production Park in Thurrock is a 14-acre site, home to state-of-the-art facilities specially designed for the creative industries. A creative hub, the Park is home to the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop, where all Royal Opera House sets and scenery are built; Acme Studios, which provide space for up to forty artists; and The Backstage Centre, a training facility for those who want to work in creative arts. Find out more about learning projects and events in Thurrock.

‘It's great to see the next site development getting underway. Businesses and learners alike feel inspired by the Park already, and they can't wait for the new centre to open its doors in 2015,’ says Andrea Stark, Chief Executive of the High House Production Park.

‘The new Costume Centre will be an exemplar in low carbon design,’ says Andrea. ‘In addition, alongside this building project, the Royal Opera House is running an innovative low carbon programme called Culture Change. This is helping many small companies and freelancers in our sector to increase their resilience by learning how to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their bottom line.’

To find out more about our work in Thurrock or join us for a tour of the Production workshop, visit our website

To see if you are eligible for our free business support programme, visit the Culture Change pages or view a short film about the programme.

The building of the Costume Centre is supported by Bob and Tamar Manoukian, European Regional Development Fund, Thurrock Council, the Foyle Foundation, the Royal Opera House and South Essex College.

This article has 3 comments

  1. Becca Robbins responded on 16 July 2014 at 7:24pm Reply

    Such exciting news! Do you have any plans to include the costume facility in future tours? That would be the icing on the cake!
    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 16 July 2014 at 9:09pm

      Dear Becca

      We will be able to confirm more details closer to the time. Watch this space!

      Best wishes


  2. Matt Lane responded on 20 July 2014 at 9:15pm Reply

    Dear Becca,
    We certainly plan to include the costume facility as part of our future tours.
    Best wishes,
    Matt Lane
    Head of ROH Thurrock and Thames Gateway

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