This December, to show thanks for the incredible work done by NHS staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, the Royal Opera House will be welcoming NHS key workers and their families to its 2021 Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat: a morning of interactive workshops and activities followed by a gala performance of The Nutcracker.
The event, scheduled for Saturday 4 December, will include Dance with the Royal Ballet workshops, demonstrations by members of The Royal Ballet School, storytelling activities, and presentations by the ROH Archive and Collections team, ending with the festive favourite from The Royal Ballet, performed that afternoon by a stellar cast of dancers: Principal Lauren Cuthbertson as the Sugar Plum Fairy, First Soloist William Bracewell as her Prince, Soloist Isabella Gasparini as Clara, and First Soloist Luca Acri as Hans Peter (The Nutcracker). The full day of entertainment will run from 11am – 4pm, with tickets costing as little as £5.
The Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust, in memory of the late Paul Hamlyn, and is designed specifically to introduce new audiences to the Royal Opera House. In previous years, it has been a partnership between the Royal Opera House and, among others, The Sun newspaper, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Girlguiding UK, and a network of arts and health charities.
This year’s event is part of the Royal Opera House’s wider #ThankYouNHS programme: a suite of activities, partnerships and heavily discounted performances for NHS workers. The programme commenced in June 2021 – with Puccini’s La bohème, sung to an auditorium of specially invited staff from ROH’s nearest hospitals – and will end with a performance of Swan Lake in March 2022. So far this Season, approximately 5,000 NHS key workers and their family members have taken up ticket offers for #ThankYouNHS events, many using the opportunity to visit the ROH for the first time.
Lady Hamlyn, CBE, of the Helen Hamlyn Trust, said:
‘How can we ever adequately thank the wonderful people in the NHS and all the key workers for risking their own lives to protect and care for all of “us”? I very much hope that the Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat will give much pleasure to all those able to attend.’