Dartford schoolgirl designs costume for Royal Opera House

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 April 2019

Charlotte with school head Sue Hunt. Picture: WGSG

Charlotte with school head Sue Hunt. Picture: WGSG


A Dartford student has won a major prize for designing a costume to be used in a major opera.

Charlotte Hooper shows off her costumeCharlotte Hooper shows off her costume

The Wilmington Grammar School for Girls pupil won the top prize in the Royal Opera House Design Challenge.

Charlotte Hooper, 15, from Dartford, scooped the prestigious Royal Opera House Design Challenge for Costume for her innovative and considered entry for the ballet, Romeo and Juliet.

Her design is now being exhibited in the new Linbury Studio foyer at the Royal Opera House (ROH) in Covent Garden.

As part of the prize, Wilmington Grammar School for Girls has been given 35 tickets to attend a matinee of the Romeo and Juliet ballet as well as a backstage tour.

Charlotte will receive her prize during a ceremony in the first interval of the ballet where she will be congratulated by Alex Beard, chief executive of the ROH, and Lady Deborah MacMillan.

Her vision allowed the narrative to be set outside of its original period, and Charlotte’s design attempts to demonstrate that her parents and society were always ultimately in control, and how the will of young females in society can potentially still be controlled by external sources.

She said this theme is as relevant now as when the play was originally written more than 400 years ago.

The design incorporated carefully folded newspaper in a geometric design worked into a wire frame to create the dramatic silhouette.

Charlotte said: “I really enjoyed producing a costume for the Romeo and Juliet ballet, as I was able to be ambitious and experimental with my designs. Creating a life sized costume from scratch was challenging, but once completed it was very rewarding.”

School headteacher Sue Hunt said: “I am delighted for Charlotte, to win such a prestigious challenge is a fitting reward for her endeavour and commitment to the project.”

In addition, Charlotte achieved the Silver Arts Award which is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England. As part of this award Charlotte completed pet Paw-traits using acrylic paints and was commissioned by local pet owners keen for a portrait of their much loved pets.

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