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Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat 2012

This Christmas, the Royal Opera House and The Sun are coming together to offer readers a very special family performance of The Nutcracker with the Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat, supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust in memory of the late Paul Hamlyn

By Royal Opera House

26 October 2011 at 1.25pm | 20 Comments

Readers who have never been to a performance at the Royal Opera House, for whatever reason, will be able to see The Royal Ballet perform The Nutcracker on Saturday 8 December from as little as £5 up to only £19.50 per person for the best seats in the house, and there will be a series of fun activities for all ages throughout the building prior to the performance.

Thanks to the Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treats and The Sun, thousands of people who had not previously been to a performance at the Royal Opera House have been able to enjoy opera and ballet at the famous Covent Garden theatre, with many returning again and again – it is time you joined in too.


The Nutcracker – what is it all about?
From the very first notes of Tchaikovsky’s overture of The Nutcracker, a sense of mystery and magic pervades the theatre as Herr Drosselmeyer sets in train the events that will see his beloved nephew, Hans Peter, freed from the enchantment of the evil Mouse King by the resourceful Clara.

The Nutcracker unfolds over two glorious acts. For Act I it is Christmas Eve and we are brought to a party at which Drosselmeyer gives young Clara a nutcracker doll – beginning a night that includes a magically growing Christmas tree, a midnight battle of toy soldiers at which the Nutcracker defeats the villainous Mouse King and his army of mice, and a headlong pas de deux in which Clara and Hans Peter meet and celebrate their triumph before being enveloped in a magical snowstorm. Act II whisks the young pair off to the Kingdom of the Sweets, where they are entertained by the Sugar Plum Fairy with her handsome Prince and her glittering court in a series of dazzling dances. Peter Wright’s classic production, first seen at Covent Garden in 1984, is an essential part of Christmas for audiences of all ages.

Visit The Nutcracker production page for more details

Fun stuff before the performance
Before the performance from 4.30pm, ticket holders will be able to explore stalls in the Paul Hamlyn Hall which give an insight into what some of our backstage departments do. Find out how costumes are made, watch a make-up demonstration or talk to our model room about how the designer’s ideas are turned into reality on stage.

Want to make a souvenir to take away with you? In the Paul Hamlyn Hall we will have a professional designer and mountains of materials for families to get their hands dirty making something related to The Nutcracker.

Fancy trying on a costume? Our Crush Room will feature a range of amazing, authentic costumes from both opera and ballet productions. Try something on with your children and take photographs as a memento.

Are you a budding musician? We’ll have professionals on-hand throughout the open "Fun Stuff" sessions who will let you have a go on one of their instruments, and will show you how they sound and how they are played.

These activities are free and will happen throughout the late afternoon before the performance begins at 7pm. Arrive early to make sure you can take advantage of them all!

What do I do now?
Simply register and you will be entered into a lottery for a chance to buy a ticket priced between £5 and £19.50. We will contact you in good time either by post or email to let you know when you can book.


Some important dates
Please be aware that registration for the Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat ends on Wednesday 14 November

Booking will open on Thursday 22 November – if you are successful in the ballot we will contact you in good time to let you know how to book.

The Performance of The Nutcracker is on Saturday 8 December at 7pm (doors open at 4.30pm for pre-performance activities).

Some other useful information
How do I get to the Royal Opera House? What do I wear? How will I find my seat? What happens if I am late?
These and many other questions are answered here.

Food and Drink at the Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House Restaurants offer a selection of menus in our bars and restaurants throughout the House and there is something for everyone to choose from.  We have children’s menus in each area so that the whole family can fully enjoy the experience.

Our a la carte Amphitheatre Restaurant has seasonal favourites, including warming soups and winter tarts.

The Amphitheatre Bar and Paul Hamlyn Bar will both be serving a selection of drinks and lighter snacks such as sandwiches and delicious platters ideal for sharing.

The Paul Hamlyn Hall Balconies Restaurant will be serving modern British food in an elegant setting.  In this restaurant guests are kindly asked to pre order their meal in advance.

We recommend pre ordering your food in all of our bars and restaurants in order for you and your guests to have a seamless experience.  The bars and Amphitheatre Restaurant will also take bookings on the evening itself so you won’t miss out.

For more details and to make a booking online please visit our restaurants and bars pages.  Alternatively please call the team on +44 (0) 20 7212 9254

The performance is recommended for children over five years old who are very welcome. They will require their own ticket next to the accompanying adults. Babies and infants unfortunately will not be admitted into the auditorium, this is to enable a good experience for all those attending, including parents and carers!

The Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust, in memory of the late Paul Hamlyn, with the association of The Sun newspaper.


Find out more information on The Helen Hamlyn Trust  

Terms and Conditions

Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions below.
You must register by 14 November 2012 for your chance to buy up to 6 tickets for this performance.
Please note: You will be entered into a lottery and informed by 21 November 2012 whether you have been successful.
Booking is available from 22 November 2012.

View full terms and conditions here

By Royal Opera House

26 October 2011 at 1.25pm

This article has been categorised Uncategorised and tagged

This article has 20 comments

  1. Sandy Papworth responded on 6 November 2012 at 1:48pm Reply

    I love the ballet, and know some little girls who would just love this Christmas treat .

  2. Bliss brunell responded on 10 November 2012 at 12:16pm Reply

    Pick me pick me :-)

  3. Marlene Phillips responded on 10 November 2012 at 2:56pm Reply

    I would love to see a ballet but always thought the price would be out of my reach, and as I have lovely daughter in laws would love to be able to treat them as well, a brilliant way to start the Christmas celebrations.

  4. brian pittuck responded on 10 November 2012 at 3:29pm Reply

    have read the do and donot's now we need to win

  5. emma osgood responded on 10 November 2012 at 5:33pm Reply

    Me and my three daughters have dreamed of going to the ballet and to be able to watch the nutcracker live would be a memerable evening which we will never forget.

  6. Mike Cox responded on 10 November 2012 at 6:03pm Reply

    As having never ever been to a ballet in my 64yrs of life.this would be a real challenge to me.Very different.

  7. Lisa responded on 10 November 2012 at 6:42pm Reply

    I have an amazing ballerina and ad she's also a gymnast too , this would inspire her beyond words to see a real live show , great article thoroughly got excited .

  8. Scott Beattie responded on 10 November 2012 at 6:44pm Reply

    I hope we are successful as my two girls will absolutely love this, and it will give them a chance to experience the ballet for the first time.


  9. lyndsey mcgrath responded on 10 November 2012 at 7:34pm Reply

    what a way to start christmas

  10. susan clark responded on 10 November 2012 at 8:13pm Reply

    hope we'll be lucky

  11. Marilyn Dacosta responded on 11 November 2012 at 10:15am Reply

    My grand-daughter Amy 6,and myself have never seen a ballet.
    This would be a lovely pre-Christmas treat if we can manage to book tickets.

  12. Lynda Ashton responded on 11 November 2012 at 11:31am Reply

    A fantastic Christmas treat for all ages

  13. Simon Noble responded on 12 November 2012 at 2:33pm Reply

    We have never been to the ballet and having taken our daughter to the theatre for the first time this year, i'm sure this would be another fantastic experience for her and us.

  14. Peter Brown responded on 13 November 2012 at 8:35pm Reply

    With four children aged between 21 and 9 this would be a fantastic occasion for all 6 of our family to spend a rare evening out together at a reasonable cost.

  15. Sheila Butcher responded on 13 November 2012 at 8:58pm Reply

    Great Christmas treat for the family!

  16. BEVERLEY JOHNSON responded on 14 November 2012 at 3:06pm Reply


  17. heather brymer responded on 14 November 2012 at 11:39pm Reply

    dreams can come true !!!!

  18. Matthew champion responded on 21 November 2012 at 7:31am Reply

    This ballet is my daughters favorite in the whole world, as a six year old ballet dancer herself this would make her christmas if she managed to get these tickets.x

  19. Hi there,

    Following on from an excellent evening last Christmas, is there any plan for a repeat this year?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 2 September 2013 at 12:26pm

      Hi Paul,

      Do keep an eye on our site's News section, as well as social media.


      Content Producer (Social Media and News)

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