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Behind the scenes at the Woolf Works world premiere

The Student Ambassadors teamed up with the UK’s largest university dance competition to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go behind the scenes at a ballet world premiere.

By Hannah Redfern (ROH Student Ambassador (Loughborough University))

3 June 2015 at 1.26pm | Comment on this article

Each year the Royal Opera House invites a number of students from its Student Scheme to become Ambassadors. Ambassadors are the ROH’s advocates – we spread the word about ways to see the world-class performances from the ROH. We also feed back ideas and suggestions to the ROH on ways to improve their offerings for students.

In March 2015 we teamed up with the UK’s biggest university dance competition to promote the ROH Student scheme to thousands of dancers from across the country. The Loughborough Students’ Dance Competition is run by students, for students; and each year Loughborough Students’ Dance Club invites dancers to compete in ballet, hip-hop, jazz, contemporary and tap, judged by industry professionals. The weekend is always a massive success and this year they welcomed more than thirty universities, live-streamed the event around the world and trended nationally on Twitter!

This year, the ROH offered dancers a chance to enter a prize draw by signing up to the Student Scheme, with the chance to win a range of ROH goodies. First prize was a Backstage Pass to the Royal Opera House with the Ambassadors, and included a free ticket to the world premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works. Loughborough University’s Katie-Louise Minnett was the lucky winner, and on 11 May joined us at the Royal Opera House to claim her prize.

The afternoon began in the Clore Studio, watching Royal Ballet dancers Emma Maguire and Alexander Campbell rehearse Jerome Robbins’s In the Night. After an hour of being mesmerized by their pas de deux, we were joined by Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, who talked about his own ballet journey and answered our questions about the Company.

Following a session with the ROH Marketing Department to brainstorm ideas on new ways to promote the ROH Student Scheme, we all headed to the staff canteen for some dinner, keeping our eyes peeled for any dancers wandering around backstage pre-performance! Finally it was time to take our seats for Woolf Works, the brilliant new ballet inspired by the life and works of Virginia Woolf. As Katie said, ‘Woolf Works was so different from anything I have ever seen. I absolutely loved it! And to be able to say that I was at a world premiere is incredible.’

Students love new experiences, and the prize of a ROH Backstage Pass was a great way to encourage people to get involved. Word of mouth is just as important as social media and other strategies to increase awareness of the ROH Student Scheme. By Katie coming and experiencing it for herself, she will now be able to share her memories with her friends and continue to spread the word about what we do and what a great thing the ROH has created for students.

If you are a student and are interested in opera, ballet, music and dance, or want to find out more, then you can sign up to the ROH Student Scheme for free! Join a community of students from around the UK who share the same passion, and enjoy the many perks on offer.

Find out more about the ROH Students Scheme

Woolf Works returns to The Royal Opera House in 2016/17. Tickets will be available soon.

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