Every shoe, sequin, orchestral part and lighting gel comes at a price. And without skilled footwear supervisors, workroom managers, armourers, music librarians, stage managers and technicians, no production would reach the stage. That's why the £20 million you contribute each year, through donations small and large, is so important.
Whenever you make a gift to The Royal Opera House Foundation, become a Friend or Patron or leave a gift in your will, you play a crucial role in creating extraordinary performances, outstanding craftsmanship and inspiring learning and participation projects.
Each Season Cheryl Knight and her colleague Ron Taylor source 2,100 pairs of shoes for Royal Opera productions; from traditional Japanese sandals to 50s-style court shoes. Each pair must then be prepared: the shoes might require dying, rubber soles must be fixed (a health and safety requirement), a fitting arranged and then, if necessary, the shoes might be stretched to be just right. Don't forget they must also undertake the cleaning, mending and re-touching of all the shoes already used on stage. As Cheryl says:
"My grandfather was a master cobbler and I have always loved shoe design so working here feels completely right to me. Particularly now, having worked here for more than 12 years, I have a very strong sense of what will work and a great rapport with the performers, knowing their various footwear tastes and quirks!"
From Principal Singers to the Youth Opera Company, everyone who takes part in Royal Opera productions comes through Ron and Cheryl's door, and each has to leave with the correct footwear. With so many sizes and period settings required across the Season, the department is extremely busy. Your support could make a very practical difference to their work.
How do your donations help?
- £2 buys a long shoe-horn
- £4.50 buys a pair of 12" laces
- £6.50 buys a pack of six insoles
- £12 buys a pair of gym pumps
- £27 buys a month's worth of scuff coat
- £40 buys 5 litres of glue
- £50 buys enough rubber to sole 20 pairs of shoes
- £200 buys a pair of ladies' handmade gigi boots
- £1,200 provides a chorister with a set of footwear (six pairs of handmade shoes) for use throughout their career at Covent Garden
Everyone has a part to play. Play yours today. Donate now.
To find out more about our work, please see our Annual Review.