Cultural and Creative Dinner 2018

Walpole members were joined by Alex Beard CBE, CEO of the Royal Opera House at last night’s annual Cultural and Creative Dinner at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. Speaking about why creativity is a necessity, not a luxury, Alex Beard discussed the ambitious Open UP project, which has transformed the Royal Opera House into an accessible space for a new generation.

Creativity is the driving force of the long, close relationship between high culture and the high-end sector. But creativity shouldn’t have a price tag and luxury shouldn’t be defined by its cost – we have a responsibility to work harder than ever to make the exceptional experiences we create accessible to a wider audience: to help them look under the bonnet, to see craftsmen and creatives use their skills to bring something magical to life .

The Royal Opera House is a brilliant example of how this is achievable: their Open UP project makes this extraordinary space more accessible to more people than ever – is this a model that every luxury brand should explore?

I very much hope that over time, the perception of this institution and of our performance will shift from being elitist, but we will keep a sense of being special, of it being extraordinary, engaging and all consuming … but open for a much wider public to connect with. I want as many people as possible to visit to 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.”
Alex Beard OBE, CEO of the Royal Opera House

With thanks to Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour; Maison de Fleurs; Sumaridge; The Highland Chocolatier; and Hildon. Imagery courtesy of Adam Duke.