Accessibility links


Sign In

Sally O'Reilly



Writer Sally O’Reilly made her Royal Opera debut in 2015, writing the libretto for Matt Rogers’s opera The Virtues of Things in the Linbury Studio Theatre.

O’Reilly publishes and distributes text in conventional and expanded forms. Her video, text and performance-based works have been exhibited and programmed internationally and she has also curated exhibitions and produced performances of other practitioners’ work. Her short fiction has been published by Art & Music, Art on the Underground, Cabinet, the Contemporary Art Society and the Government Art Collection. Her books include a monograph on Mark Wallinger (Tate Publishing, 2015) and The Body in Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson World of Art Series, 2009). She was writer in residence at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (2010–11), producer and co-writer of The Last of the Red Wine, a radio sitcom set in the art world (ICA, London, 2011), and co-editor of the interdisciplinary broadsheet Implicasphere (2003–08).

O’Reilly has contributed to several art magazines, including Art Monthly, Art Review, Frieze and Cabinet, and has written numerous exhibition catalogue essays for venues including Tate and the Mori Museum (Tokyo). She also teaches fine art and creative-critical writing at the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools, and lectures at universities and art schools throughout the UK and Europe.

News and features

When behind the scenes becomes centre stage in opera and ballet

6 May 2015
When behind the scenes becomes centre stage in opera and ballet

Operas and ballets often take themselves as a subject – with comic, confusing or even violent results!

Opera Essentials: The Virtues of Things

29 April 2015
Opera Essentials: The Virtues of Things

Our quick guide to this world premiere from composer Matt Rogers and librettist Sally O'Reilly, a co-commission between The Royal Opera, Aldeburgh Music and Opera North.