Pauline Tambling ©ROH
Pauline Tambling ©ROH

Remembering Pauline Tambling CBE (1955–2023)

Pauline founded and led the Royal Opera House Education programme for 15 years.

By Lucy Wolstenholme
Tuesday 5 December 2023, 4pm

The Royal Opera House is sad to share the news that Pauline Tambling CBE, passed away on Friday 1 December.

A pioneer in the arts and creative industries, Pauline was instrumental in founding the work that ensures the Royal Opera House gives children across the country access to opera and ballet through our Learning and Participation programme.

Pauline was the first dedicated person to lead Education at the Royal Opera House. She set up and ran what is now the Learning and Participation programme from 1982 to 1997 and her passion for the impact of the arts in education continued throughout her career. From her days at the Royal Opera House to senior roles at Arts Council England, being a trustee of Roundhouse and the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust, and most recently as Chief Executive of Creative & Cultural Skills and running the National Skills Academy, Pauline’s work has left a lasting impact on the education and skills sector. Her influence can be seen in her seminal work on the recent Arts in Schools report that she co-authored.

In recognition of her work, Pauline was awarded a CBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honors for services to education and training in the cultural sector.

We at the Royal Opera House are proud to have worked with Pauline, and we look forward to continuing her legacy of promoting creativity in education through the Learning and Participation programme she helped to build.

The Royal Opera House extends condolences to her family, her many friends, and to all the people whose lives she touched.

Jillian Barker, Director of Learning and Participation, said, ‘Pauline built the foundations for Learning and Participation at the Royal Opera House, and those of us who have succeeded her stand on the shoulders of a giant.'

Alex Beard, CEO, said, ‘Pauline was a true diamond, a great colleague and good friend to so many, whose passion and commitment to the transformative power of arts education was deeply inspiring. She will be hugely missed, but her impact and contribution will never be forgotten.’

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Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation, a charitable company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales (Company number 480523) Charity Registered (Number 211775)