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Watch: Behind the scenes in the Royal Opera House making departments

From a gory severed head to dazzling tutus, our behind-the-scenes have been busy this season.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

24 May 2012 at 3.18pm

The teams behind the scenes at the Royal Opera House are always busy, but this season has been particularly eventful. From the epic prop demands of David McVicar's upcoming Les Troyens to the mammoth task facing the costume team reviving Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, all have been hard at work ensuring that productions on stage live up to the Royal Opera House's world class reputation.

Recently, we followed the Props team as they embarked on the gruesome task of creating the famous severed head from Salome. The work, carried out by prop maker Steve Jolley, took three months and was documented in a short film. The full process was so fascinating, and took such an enormous amount of work, that we've cut an extended version to showcase it:

The Props team have also had the more appetising job of creating an array of fake food for Robert Carsen's new production of Falstaff. An entire banquet was created from latex - from a whole salmon to summer puddings and garden salads. View our gallery of prop food.

The Costume Department has also been a whirl of activity. The return of The Sleeping Beauty in late 2011 saw the corridors and workrooms of Covent Garden filled with multicoloured tutus in preparation for the staging of a piece with a huge cast. Costume Workshop Manager Mal Barton showed us how a tutu is made, and gave us a glimpse into fitting First Artist Claire Calvert for her Lilac Fairy costume. This followed the dazzling insight into the costumes for Jewels - a must-watch for fans of all things sparkly.

With around 3,000 wigs produced for the opera and ballet companies, the season has also been demanding for the Wigs department. As well as producing headpieces for new production, the team also maintain those worn in revived productions - a staggering 100,000 wigs are maintained by the small team per year. Watch our short film about the wigs department.

Over the coming months we'll be posting more content and films, including a peek behind the scenes on Les Troyens.

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