New Costume Centre to be built in Thurrock
Centre will house workshops, storage and offer training and qualifications in Costume for students.
Apprentice Robin McGrorty and Mal Barton of the Royal Opera House Costume department © ROH/Sim Canetty-Clarke 011
Plans are moving ahead for the new Costume Centre on the High House Production Park with Thurrock Council now having granted planning permission for the new building. Nicholas Hare Architects, who also designed the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop on the site, have been appointed to carry out the design work.
This is an exciting opportunity and creates even stronger links between the Royal Opera House and the local community in Thurrock through a unique partnership with South Essex College. As well as the storage and making of costumes for Royal Opera House productions, there will be permanent workrooms specifically for students, with opportunities for training with the Royal Opera House.
The Centre will house the majority of our costumes used in the current opera and ballet repertory and also costumes from obsolete productions so that designers can look through the available stock with a view to refashioning items for new productions. We will also make and repair more costumes in-house, relieving some of the need to outsource work, making our practices more efficient and sustainable.
Having all our costumes stored in one place and much closer to Covent Garden will help us to manage the stock more efficiently and reduce our road mileage, transport costs and carbon footprint.
Our historic Costume Collection currently kept in Dover will also be moved on site and kept in carefully controlled conditions.
The addition of the new Costume Centre also adds another dimension to the High House Production Park where, since 2011, we have been creating the sets and scenery for our Covent Garden stage, and adds to the mix of backstage skills being practised and taught on site within our own Production Workshop, the National Skills Academy’s Backstage Centre and the Acme Studios’ High House Artists’ Studios.
The building itself will be of the highest environmental standards, set to achieve BREEAM excellent status, best practice in sustainable building design.
The building of the Costume Centre is supported by European Regional Development Fund, Thurrock Council, the Royal Opera House and South Essex College.