Royal Opera House Design Challenge

June 28, 2021


Design Challenge is a completely FREE Royal Opera House national learning programme and competition, open to any students from Year 10 upwards.

Design Challenge allows students to develop their design skills as they follow a live brief set by a professional theatre director. This gives participants an insight into creative careers in the theatre and offers a unique opportunity to explore creative design through the art form of opera.

The Secondary programme is designed to work with the national curriculum for Design and Technology, while the FE programme can be delivered as part of a vocational or A-Level Art and Design pathway, or as an EPQ.


Aims of the Design Challenge

  • Inspire future theatre design professionals by offering an authentic design experience.
  • Improve students’ skills in research, concept development, designing to a brief and presenting their ideas.
  • Introduce your students to a new art form, building cultural capital.
  • Refresh your teaching practice with a project that can be built into your scheme of work or added as home learning/enrichment content.
You can also join ROH on Thursday 8 July from 4-6pm for a free interactive CPD session, where designer Ruth Paton will guide you through the ‘Six Stages of Design’ and demonstrate some classroom tools for teaching the various design pathways.



Design Challenge FE

This programme is designed to work with L3 Btec, UAL and A-Levels in visual Arts subjects. It can be planned into the curriculum as a project or can be used as a stand alone enrichment project to boost student’s portfolios. Students undertake a ‘live’ brief issued by Director Tom Guthrie to create designs for either Set, Costumes, Hair,Wigs & Make-up or Marketing Design & Strategy for Bizet’s Opera- Carmen. Students pick one of four Director’s visions to use as stimulus for their research and creative exploration as they follow the ‘6 Stages of Design’; developing a portfolio that shows their ideas in detailed development to finally reach a finished article of either a scale set model box, fully realised costume, hair and make-up demonstration or designed marketing materials that sit alongside a whole campaign. Tutors can use free resources within the ROH Learning Platform or set these for independent learning . Students will be able to access content relating to creative careers and take part in events with creative professionals. At the end of the process tutors follow the ROH Design Challenge judging guidelines to select a winner from each category in their cohort that they then submit to the ROH judging panel. National winners are selected and announced and each entry receives judge’s feedback. The winners are invited to an experience at ROH Covent Garden. The programme is completely free including teacher CPD.


Design Challenge HE

This programme is the same as the FE offer with more expectation in the judging process that this is a higher level of study.

If you are unable to attend either of these online events, you can register your interest in participating in Design Challenge 2021/22.

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