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The Royal Opera House opens 'West End's newest and most intimate theatre'


Following an extensive 3-year construction, the Royal Opera House's ambitious Open Up project is complete and its sparkling new doors are open to the public.

The new ground floor foyer provides 19% more space for the public. Image: Hufton+Crow.

From new entrances to a substantially increased foyer and public offering to the jewel of the renovation – the Linbury Theatre – the Open Up project marks a new chapter for the Royal Opera House. Designed by Stanton Williams with Theatre Consultancy by Charcoalblue, the new Linbury Theatre provides a new world-class studio space for both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet plus a broad programme of international artists. The project constitutes the biggest refurbishment for the building since 1999.

Beyond the redesigned Bow Street entrance lies an expansive new foyer space which will now be open from 10am daily for the public to access a new cafe, shop, restaurants, exhibitions and a dynamic range of programming spanning the space.

“The Linbury Theatre is a strong addition to the capital's performance landscape, filled to the lighting fixtures with cutting-edge functionality.”

Senior Consultant Chris Dales

The double height foyer space. Image: Hufton+Crow.

The ground floor and lower-ground floor foyers. Image: Hufton+Crow

Guests descent into the new lower-ground foyer space. Image: Hufton+Crow

Descending down to the lower ground level you're met by an informal performance space, bar and cloakroom as well as extensive new restroom facilities – one of the most eagerly anticipated additions. The Linbury Theatre itself matches its previous capacity for 400 people yet dramatically improving technical and acoustic performance and comfort whilst protecting the space's unique character. Key technical improvements include state-of-the-art digital technical systems, an electro-acoustic system and seating elevators to enable both steep and shallow rake seating formats suitable for opera, ballet and other performance types.

The new Linbury Theatre. Image: Hufton+Crow.

Slatted balcony fronts. Image: Hufton+Crow.

The horseshoe-shaped auditorium. Image: Hufton+Crow.

A performer takes to the Linbury Stage. Image: Hufton+Crow.

“We are delighted to open the doors to a transformed Royal Opera House, with our new Linbury Theatre, new entrances, foyers and terraces, a new café, bar and restaurant and refurbished Clore Studio, as well as an extensive programme of daytime events, activities and festivals,"
remarked Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Alex Beard. "The Royal Opera House is now open every day from 10am, and we want as many people as possible to visit one of the world’s most beautiful theatres, to experience our art forms and to get a taste of the remarkable creativity at play here.”

"The Royal Opera House is one of the most prolific and ambitious arts organisations operating today," added Charcoalblue Senior Consultant Chris Dales. "The Open Up project allows them to physically meet and exceed these ambitions and introduce more people to the work of home-grown and visiting artists. The Linbury Theatre is a strong addition to the capital's performance landscape, filled to the lighting fixtures with cutting-edge functionality. We're incredibly proud to have worked with the ROH, Stanton Williams and the whole project team to ensure the history and future of this great organisation is equally celebrated."

The new Bow Street entrance. Image: Hufton+Crow.

The project in figures

  • 500 individual contractors on site
  • 180+ miles of cable used
  • 99% of waste diverted from landfill to recycling
  • 48% increase in the Linbury foyer area
  • 400sqm of glass used
  • 996 performances completed since construction began
  • 0 performances cancelled



Royal Opera House


Stanton Williams

Theatre Consultant


Services, Structural, Acoustic Engineer





...a wonderfully intimate addition to the West End’s array of theatres.

The Guardian


...the West End’s newest and most intimate theatre.

The Evening Express


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