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Sarah Armstrong-Jones designs the set for a new production at Royal Opera House's Linbury Theatre

October 29, 2021

Sarah Armstrong-Jones has recently undertaken a commission from the Frederick Ashton Foundation to design the costumes and backdrops for a new production of Hamlet and Ophelia.


The production was debuted by Royal Ballet members at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Theatre, as part of 'Ashton Rediscovered: Past, Present and Future', an evening of special live performances to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Foundation. 


Sir Frederick Ashton choreographed the dance, originally entitled Hamlet Prelude, in 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee, where it was performed by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, and broadcast by the BBC.    


Her first ballet designs, Armstrong-Jones is the latest Redfern artist to have produced designs for the stage. Patrick Procktor famously undertook numerous commissions, including costumes for the ballet, Cage of God, at Sadler's Wells in 1967; Twelfth Night, performed the following year at the Royal Court; and the opera, Turandot, at Covent Garden, in 1983, having been recommended by Bryan Robertson. In 1988, David Tindle was commissioned to make the stage designs for Tchaikovsky's opera, Iolanta, as part of the Aldeburgh Festival.


Hamlet and Ophelia
Choreography Frederick Ashton
Music Franz Liszt
Dancers Francesca Hayward and William Bracewell
Programme devised by Jeanetta Laurence and Christopher Nourse
Recreated and staged by Wayne Eagling
Painter and Designer Sarah Armstrong-Jones
Costumes realised by James Kelly
©The Frederick Ashton Foundation photograph by Andrej Uspenski