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Your Reaction: What do you think of the Royal Opera House's new spaces?

Now open every day from 10am, we're delighted to welcome you in to our brand new Front of House spaces, our new Linbury Theatre and our shop.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

22 September 2018 at 4.37pm | 33 Comments

We'd love to hear what you think of our new Front of House spaces - let us know using the hashtag #RoyalOperaHouse on social

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

22 September 2018 at 4.37pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged

This article has 33 comments

  1. Just wondering why everything had to be such a symphony in beige? And what is a roaming box office?

  2. Mr Kim Jennings responded on 24 September 2018 at 8:09pm Reply

    Not a fan of what looks like minimalism or modernism as they are both spartan. But, there is a lot of combining the old with the new. At least there are some decorative features in the newer part of the complex. Being "Postmodern" myself (Less is a bore") I would prefer the original part of the building to be an inspiration, even if scaled down in the newer part.

  3. Stephen Jay-Taylor responded on 25 September 2018 at 1:54am Reply

    Indeed. Pure airport lounge. And the beige carpeting up in the Amphitheatre bar is particularly ill-advised - it's a BAR, people - and surely won't outlast the current Ring cycles without looking like a Rorschach test.....

  4. Jeanette Swindon responded on 25 September 2018 at 11:14am Reply

    I was unimpressed by the shop. There used to be a good selection of Ballet and opera DVDs and CDs. The new shop appears to have been stocked with a view to maximising sales of tourist fodder and reducing the space available for actual ballet and opera. When I bought the latest Ashton DVD, I commented on this and was told that there was stock not on display - if I knew what I wanted. Well, that is the problem - what I want is to browse, and I have in the past bought a wide selection of DVDs from the old shop by doing so. Very disappointing. And why won't my email be published (see message below)? Not trendy enough for you? I thought the whole idea was to be inclusive, not to disregard people who don't tweet.

    • Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media)) responded on 25 September 2018 at 12:53pm

      Hi Jeanette,

      Thank you for your comment. The message saying 'your email will not be published' is to inform you that your email address will not shown on the website if you leave any feedback. Sorry for any confusion. We are of course open to hearing everyone's reactions to our new spaces and shop, both positive and negative: this can be via Twitter, but also by leaving a comment on the website, so we're grateful to you for taking the time to post your feedback. You can still browse our recordings here, if you'd like:

      Many thanks,


  5. At long last! Now we can have Bow Street back to normal again, and no more massive queues for toilets for Stalls and Stalls Circle audience members.

  6. Mary Barnstable responded on 27 September 2018 at 3:09pm Reply

    Seriously reduced seating in the amphi areas for patrons as we now have to compete with the casual drinkers that have discovered a new watering hole with a wonderful view of the London skyline. Impossible to find a place to perch in last night's 80 minute interval. Looks like it will be the pub for me in ROH intervals in future. The ladies loos were a disgrace with most out of order due to a blockage and the floor strewn with paper towels no doubt a result of being in use for far longer than usual. Unhappy the ROH is now reduced to being some sort of café/wine bar with a theatre attached.

    • Sheila Peters responded on 13 October 2018 at 11:18am

      Having now visited for two performances, I agree with the negative comments above. Nothing seems to have been well thought out. The amphitheatre bar area is a disaster, much less space to get a drink during the intervals. The carpet already looking dirty and old. I was asked for my ticket five times during my last visit. The stools at the tables not suitable for elderly patrons. No security inspection on coming in, but then having to pull it out at the foot of the lift and when returning from the amphitheatre bar after the intervals. The coat check in the new entrance is too far from the auditorium. The cafe there reminds me of Stanstead. I can't fathom the reason for the changes, other than to produce more business for the catering service.

  7. elleG responded on 28 September 2018 at 11:27am Reply

    I like the decor and the ambience created by the mix of 'public' users and opera patrons. However, I hear that there are serious concerns about the 'occupation' of the Amphi social areas by people who are not attending a performance. For my part, I feel that:
    * the signage could be improved; people are keeping the ushers very busy asking the way to this, that and the other;
    *you should have put an escalator up from the foyer to the Floral Hall; (the lifts are old, slow and in the wrong place);
    * the absence of an integral Box Office could be losing you trade; and
    * you need to provide sandwiches in the foyer cafe; (at the moment, people are bringing in their own from other outlets).
    But, overall, well done to all. Phew, what a project!

    • Richard responded on 2 October 2018 at 3:30pm


      Regarding your point about the lack of sandwiches in the new Foyer Cafe during the day, be careful what you wish for! The cheapest sandwich on offer of an evening in the various bars and the Cafe is £11.50!

  8. Timmie responded on 29 September 2018 at 10:45am Reply

    Hello, I recently had a wander through the ‘new’ ROH and whilst it does look very nice it has raised some questions of practicality in my mind. During performance nights/matinees which areas are for ticket holders only? Where will tickets be checked? It is already crowded enough during intervals and with ‘Open Up’ there is a concern that it will be worse and that the queues for the loos will be dire.

  9. Christopher Bayne responded on 29 September 2018 at 1:08pm Reply

    I visited on 28th September. A huge success, many congratulations. However, why did you not take the opportunity of the development to replace the plush expensive amphitheatre restaurant with a friendly and much cheaper walk in cafeteria? This has been a great success at the National Theatre and it is what many of us of limited means would like to visit.

  10. Mrs Juliet Arnold responded on 1 October 2018 at 11:23am Reply

    Very worried about the security situation. I came to an insight last week. Entered by the new main door. No ticket or bag check. Do we have to wait for a disaster to happen?

  11. Manon1753 responded on 7 October 2018 at 10:53pm Reply

    I suppose that your new web site is part of your new space. It is far too difficult to navigate! Poor access, poorer legibility and no possibility of printing out the illegible stuff to make the reading a bit easier. I noticed that the "visit us" and 'eat and drink' now come well before the "news". So stuffing oneself with food is more important that checking cast changes? ROH - where are your priorities? Somebody just wrote to me to warn me of a majord cast change in Mayerling. And yes, it has been included in the new published cast lists, but there is no warning anywhere that there has been a cast change.
    No. So far I am not impressed. It is change for the sake of change and someone's bank account. It will be interesting to see whether the physical place has fared better in the "upgrade".
    Oh, and incidentally, I see I am not the only one who has been complaining about "yoru e-mail will not be published". Glad to see that there has been an attempt at irnoning it out. The result is ambiguous though. The wording suggests that the writer's e-mail address will be published. How about "E-mai address is required but will not be published"

  12. francois responded on 9 October 2018 at 12:53am Reply

    My first night today with the new spaces. A total success for me, I do love the new concept, very open, with a lot of light, with elegant materials (the new Amphi terrace is wonderful!)... A kind of 60s look in some details, but this is very trendy currently in design and really enjoyable. Gobally really an excellent job!!!

    My only concern is whether I will still like to attend performances at the ROH/RB in the future, as a disgraceful article published by a consulting company called Baker Richards, in Arts Professional on Oct 4th - and highly retweeted in most social networks even in France- makes me understand that the ROH would now like to get rid of loyal customers who attend performances frequently, though as a frequent customer I also pay membership to Friends and invest in donations such as Pointe Shoe.

    That article/ interview is really a shame and questions whether the ROH is still interested in our membershîp and loyalty. Perhaps I should give my money elsewhere... I received that article as a wound and will now think twice before making any donation at ROH/RB.

  13. Valerie Owens responded on 9 October 2018 at 4:14pm Reply

    I agree with the above. I am extremely worried about the lack of security given the very high possibility of the terrorist attack at any time in London. I don't understand why the whole of the Royal Opera House is open to the public from 10 am. There used to be bag checks and now there are none. The tickets are not checked which means anyone can walk in off the street and enter the auditorium during the interval and plant a bomb. It is an impossible task for the stewards to recognise everyone who has paid for a seat. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
    Also I find the new extension totally unsympathetic to the rest of the historic building.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 25 October 2018 at 4:21pm

      Hi Valerie,

      Visitor safety is of great importance to us, and you'll notice a security presence in the building - both in the auditorium and front of house spaces. Bag checks are conducted at random by the security team, who are fully trained. Those seeing a performance will have their tickets checked on entering the auditorium.

      Best wishes,


  14. Ann Hutton responded on 10 October 2018 at 9:14am Reply

    Loved the new foyers but felt the amphitheatre bar area was very disappointing. Beige carpet everywhere and even less seats than before. Someone has decided that high bar stools are suitable and maybe for the young and hip but for this oldie with dodgy hip not at all suitable.

  15. Sheila Peters responded on 13 October 2018 at 11:30am Reply

    Nothing seems to have been well thought out, particularly the amphitheatre bar area which now seems more unpleasantly crowded than before. The high tables and stools there aren't good for elderly patrons and the carpet looks dirty already. The new entry is more light and airy than the old space, but the cafe there reminds one of Stanstead, the coat check is too distant from the auditorium, and there is no clear sense of where to go..The newish toilets on the level below the stalls are absolutely dangerous for elderly patrons to get to when using the steep stairs. Also, I have been to three performances now, and the ticket taking was different every time. Last time no security check at the new entrance, but checks at the bottom of the lift and also every time one returns from the amphi bar to the auditorium after intervals as well as in the aud: so I was checked five times on Thursday. As opposed to the usual two times (main entry and entry to auditorium). The purpose of any of this isn't evident; all that renovation work just to promote the catering service, which is so limited? But on the plus side the ticket takers and bar staff were all very pleasant and welcoming.

  16. Marian Mulady responded on 13 October 2018 at 5:07pm Reply

    A triumph of style(?) over practicality. Despite complicated signage where is the cloak room? Why is there no escalator any more ?Why are bags not checked ? Why is there no simple right and left printed on the ticket ?
    I agree with all the criticisms above and some.The intervals are crowded enough with out non attenders.The only winner out of this is The Linbury which could only be better.

  17. Carrie responded on 15 October 2018 at 10:49pm Reply

    Some of the alterations are good (staircase to Floral Hall, new Floral Hall terrace, some interesting displays), others seem to be pointless changes.

    I’ve visited three times since the new spaces opened and the inconsistency of bags and tickets being checked is unfathomable. First time, no bag check, one ticket check. The second time, no bag check and my ticket was checked going back into the auditorium after each interval, which was highly irritating, yet people still managed to get through the wrong door to the wrong seats because their tickets were full of numbers/letters and have become highly confusing to follow. It might help at least to put left/right back on them. The door numbers on the tickets are not always the most logical or quickest access for the seats. Thankfully, the door staff realised this and let me go the other way. Third visit, no ticket check other than a cursory glance on the way into the Amphi (what level is it called now?) corridor, but at least my bag was checked/peered into at the piazza entrance.

    Seating in the amphi bar is inadequate and it is impossible to hear the calls in the intervals when standing near the window overlooking the Floral Hall. I don’t know if the tannoy needs turning up or if there’s some deadening of sound up there. The seating on the ground floor at communal tables is far too much like being at Wagamama’s, except the food is better value there and there’s more atmosphere. It felt like being in a library; I had to whisper otherwise everyone would have overheard my conversation – can some music be played in there?

    Also, why the beige?! Must have been chosen by committee (a sure way to stifle creativity, flair and imagination) or the budget was handed over to interior designers who haven’t seen enough magnolia in their lives yet. It’s nice to have the shop back with some interesting new items but how about some normal sized postcards of dancers in costume and on stage like you used to have?

    One more thing, the swapping over of the IN/OUT doors in the amphi ladies loos - try coming out of the disabled loo when someone is coming through the OUT door...already witnessed a near miss so I hope your accident book is ready!

    Oh, and where is the ticket desk?! Fancy a theatre not having an obvious one...

    I still love the ROH despite my comments, I just feel there’s some ironing out of procedures and some tweaks yet to be made.

  18. Nick Burdett responded on 8 November 2018 at 12:48pm Reply

    Loved the new cafe. Plenty of space, very good coffee and patisserie. Would like larger range of patisserie (opera cake etc) and smaller sized sandwich selections for individuals. Terrace looks terrific and lots of interesting displays. Well done.

  19. I don't think the new open layout reflects today's world and terrorist threat. I am very concerned re the security threat created. There are no checks coming in at all and you can even enter the auditorium itself without ticket checks. Both theatre goers and Covent garden areas below are at risk. Pls at least introduce detailed security checks at all entrances and get a security overview carried out by professionals.

    • Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media)) responded on 20 November 2018 at 12:02pm

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for your comment. We do operate random bag searches and our security measures are always arranged on the advice of the Metropolitan Police. Bags larger than A3 size cannot be taken inside the auditorium.

      Many thanks,


    • David responded on 6 December 2018 at 1:10pm

      I agree with you, Jane. The ROH response that they operate RANDOM security checks is simply not good enough.

  20. David Gifford responded on 21 November 2018 at 1:25pm Reply

    The amphitheatre is just horrible. Who decided on beige??? Impractical (as we can already see) but also very, very dull; looks like its been designed by a committee of dullards.
    If you are having beige walls (actually, EVERYTHING feels beige!) have a beautiful, contrasting wooden floor in dark rich tones, for example. Far more practical too.
    Downstairs is better, but its all so corporate and bland. Oh, well... I suppose I'll get used to it, but I give the amphi carpet six months at best!

  21. John Rose responded on 21 November 2018 at 5:12pm Reply

    I don't like entering a theatre and seeing people besotted by their computers. I want a touch of magic and escapism from the start. And I fully agree with the woeful lack of security.

  22. Susan Nisbet responded on 29 December 2018 at 11:46am Reply

    It's great to be able to just wander in at any time. I love the cafe on the ground floor and the open plan shop is a great improvement. I also like the steps up from the cafe area. Interesting the direction of the escalator has been changed! I think it's wonderful that the Opera House has become more inclusive...

  23. Anne S responded on 16 January 2019 at 9:08am Reply

    Still no box office inside the building?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 16 January 2019 at 10:17am

      Hi Anne,

      There is a ticket sales point on the corner of Bow Street and Russell Street

      Best wishes


  24. Christine Parsons responded on 3 February 2019 at 7:16am Reply

    My husband and I came to a performance yesterday afternoon, and I am disappointed with many aspects of our visit. Cloakroom area/Cafe no where to sit for patrons, Paul Hamlyn bar also full no seats. No staff to help patrons to their seats. We sat in A37/38, front rail people put their coats on it , never usually allowed. Main issue queue so long for Ladies toilet due to non patrons using it, missed my interval drink. Children running up and down the stairs, really disappointing. Chaos collecting coats at end of performance. Paper stuck on doors indicating another entrance really unprofessional. We felt we were competing with everyone to gain access, security most definately reduced. Your ticket prices are high and for that I enjoyed exclusive access to a beautiful experience , not anymore.

  25. John K responded on 12 February 2019 at 3:21pm Reply

    Disappointing - cold, austere, industrial chic décor which clashes terribly with the red and gold of the main building. It is not a welcoming space. The staff I spoke to were not happy. It's just an incoherent, jarring mess which risks alienating significant parts of your audience. A missed opportunity to do something really grand sadly. A triumph of style and trend over practicality and ambience?

    • D. Gifford responded on 17 February 2019 at 3:10pm

      I agree with you wholeheartedly about the insensitive clash between foyers and auditorium. Although on a much smaller scale, Bristol Old Vic, with their new front-of-house areas, have brilliantly linked the beautiful, Georgian auditorium with the public spaces. It can be done.

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