The Royal Opera House is passionate about inspiring people to choose careers in the arts sector, particularly in backstage areas that they may not previously have considered.
Through First Stage, the Royal Opera House offers people who are either in education or in the early stage of their career the opportunity to gain practical experience and invaluable insight into our working environments. While these opportunities are unpaid, we hope our work experience students go on to build on their experience further through further education and training, ultimately gaining paid employment in the sector.
The ROH is committed to ensuring that our First Stage opportunities are accessible to people from diverse backgrounds.
What opportunities are available?
We offer work placements in many departments at the Royal Opera House. These include:
- Arts Administration
- Benesh Notation
- Costume Production
- Learning and Participation
- Model Room (open to under 18s)
- Music Department – Ballet
- Legal and Business Affairs
- Press Office – Ballet
- Press Office – Opera
- Scenic Art
- Scenic Carpentry/Metalwork
- Sound and Broadcast
- Stage Management – Ballet (open to under 18s)
- Stage Management – Opera
- Technical (Stage)
What placements are currently available?
What if I can’t find the placement I am looking for?
Our placements are often structured around specific projects or departmental schedules therefore we cannot always predict exactly when the next placement will come up. If a placement you wish to apply for is not currently listed, you can sign up for email alerts, and we will email you as soon as placements you are interested in become available.
Unfortunately, not all departments at the ROH have the capacity to host work placements or are able to do so at the moment. We regret we cannot consider speculative requests for placements and applications for future opportunities cannot be considered before they are advertised.
Please note that we do not offer work experience for performers.
Who can apply?
All UK residents are welcome to apply for a work experience placement.
Health and Safety considerations do necessitate a minimum age requirement in some areas and certain departments require a proven level of experience/skill/formal qualification. The minimum criteria for each placement are detailed in the placement listings.
There is no upper age limit for applications. However, many of the opportunities offered would be most useful to individuals looking for a first experience of work in their chosen area.
Unfortunately we are not able to offer work experience to non UK residents.
How do I apply?
Applications by CV or letter alone will not be accepted.
The closing date for applications for particular placements is specified in the list of current placements.
How long will it take for a decision to be made on my application?
Due to the volume of applications we receive, it can sometimes take a while to review them all. However, we do reply to all applicants, and you will receive an email to tell you whether you have been selected for interview or accepted for a placement as soon as possible after the closing date.
I am under 18. Can I still apply?
For under 18s, we offer placements in the Model Room, Ballet Stage Management and our Introduction to Working in the Royal Opera House placement. These take place at specified times of the year (see listings for details of what is currently available). We do not offer placements to anyone under 15.
If your application is successful we will send you a consent form for your parent/guardian/school to complete.
My child wishes to apply. Will they be safe?
The Royal Opera House takes its responsibilities to all staff and visitors seriously and follows best practice with regard to legal health and safety requirements.
Appropriate Health & Safety and Child Protection controls are in place and adhered to.
No one aged under 18 will be accepted for work experience without the written consent of their parent/guardian.
Can I apply for more than one placement?
Yes, but you must submit a separate application for each placement you are interested in.
In the interests of equal opportunities, placements are limited to one per person. Once you have completed a work experience placement, applications from you for further placements will not be considered.
Will I be paid?
All work experience at the Royal Opera House is voluntary and unpaid. However, we are able to cover some travel and lunch expenses for the duration of your placement.
Am I able to claim back any expenses?
We are able to provide assistance with some expenses associated with the placement as follows:
Lunch: You are entitled to lunch vouchers which can be redeemed in our staff restaurant or café in Covent Garden or at our Production Park in Purfleet.
Travel: If you are undertaking your placement at Covent Garden, we will reimburse you the cost of a Travel Card for Zones 1 + 2 (or alternative travel up to the same value) per week of work experience upon proof of purchase.
If you are undertaking a placement at our Thurrock site or travelling from Thurrock to Covent Garden, we will reimburse you the cost of your travel between London and Thurrock for the duration of your placement, or an alternative journey to Thurrock up to the same value (current maximum £86 per week).
Reimbursement of travel expenses will be issued on completion of your work experience placement and only on proof of purchase. If you are on a part time placement, the relevant expenses allowance will be available for every five days of your placement.
What prior experience do I need?
The number of work experience opportunities we are able to offer is inevitably limited and therefore competition is high. Placements will be offered to those applicants who are best able to prove their interest and commitment in their chosen work area.
How long will the placement be for?
This will depend on the specific opportunity, but placements last everything from a few days to several weeks (part time).
Where would I be based?
Most placements are based at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, although some are available at our Learning and Participation office and Production workshops in Purfleet, Thurrock.
Where can I get more advice on backstage careers?
- Address Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London, UK