As we enter the second half of our 2021 season I thought the time was right to write to you directly again and answer some of the questions I am asked regularly.

Firstly, as many of you will already have heard me say from the stage, I want to thank you. For trusting us and believing in the vision we set out for this season. For reacting to our openness and honesty by buying tickets at an unprecedented speed. For making extra donations and supporting the Save Our Seats campaign. For your emotional support, your reactions to performances, and for telling us in person and in writing how great it is that we are back.

As we move into the new phase of the season, I want to clarify that we will not suddenly be returning to full capacity at Opera Holland Park after 19 July. Even though we are outdoors, I have reassured you all in person, by e-mail and through our live broadcasts over the last seven months that we would not drastically increase the audience numbers this season, and I have no intention of doing so now. The safety of our audience, our artists and our team remains my number one priority but this decision runs deeper than that.

We entered a contract with you to buy our tickets based on the seating we had planned – spacious and socially distant. As I mentioned above, our tickets sold at unprecedented speed this year, and I would feel uncomfortable changing what we offer several months later. Many of you have told me in person how comfortable and safe you have felt in our theatre. I will not compromise that this year. We made a deal and we will stick to it.

Obviously it has been a blessing that we have not had to ask our audiences to wear masks whilst watching the performance or seated in our hospitality areas. We have only asked you to wear masks whilst moving around the theatre and whilst at the bar and toilets. For the time being, we will keep this protocol in place to protect our audiences and our staff.

Although many of us have now been double vaccinated, there is still a very large number of our young staff who have not been. Not only do I owe it to them to try to keep things as safe as possible but also to the people in our audiences that feel vulnerable.

As a side note, many of you have asked me how we keep our artists safe on stage and backstage. The answer is that everyone who is on stage or backstage is tested every day and we need negative results before they can enter the theatre.

The importance with which we approach safety cannot be overstated. For everyone. We also want and need to continue our season. With so many performances being lost to illness and quarantine across the country, I will keep in place anything that can help us achieve this.

So this is where we are. I am sure there will be many other things you would like to ask me about. If so, please do. Send any questions in and I will be very happy to answer them.

Here’s to a great month of performances.

Thank you again. For everything.


James Clutton
Chief Executive and Director of Opera
Opera Holland Park