Amira Kheir | Bongile G Lecoge-Zulu | Clare Loveday | Francesca Simon Ita O’Brien | Jessie Thompson | Katie Mitchell | Laura Bowler | Laura Lomas lisa luxx | Mary Ann Sieghart | Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh Nadifa Mohamed | Nancy Mounir | Otegha Uwagba
The Royal Opera House today announces the 2022 programme for its annual Engender Festival. With 10 events, performances and workshops across the week, the festival brings together pioneering creatives and writers in both the opera world and the UK’s wider creative industries. It will run from Monday 4 July – Saturday 9 July 2022. Held both in person at the ROH and online, this year’s festival is centered around The Blue Woman – a new opera from composer Laura Bowler, librettist Laura Lomas, and director Katie Mitchell, which will premiere in the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre on Wednesday 6 July 2022.  Sarah Crabtree and Kate Wyatt, Creative Producers for The Royal Opera and co-founders of Engender explain: ‘This is a pivotal moment for Engender. The network is all about creating opportunities and spaces for women to make new work and tell different stories in different ways, from a range of perspectives’. In addition to events in the Linbury Theatre and Clore Studio, a programme of informal fringe events will be running throughout the festival, covering everything from the representation gap to the process of turning books into librettos. The festival will be bookended by two timely Insights. The first will be held in the ROH Clore Studio on Monday 4 July 2022. Chaired by theatre-maker and lecturer Lisa Peck, the event will see Laura Bowler, Laura Lomas, Katie Mitchell and soprano Gweneth Ann Rand discuss the making of The Blue Woman and will include a vital conversation about how opera deals with violence against women, and what our responsibility is to audiences today and in the future. The second Insight will be livestreamed on Friday 8 July. The Independent’s Arts Editor, Jessie Thompson will host an online conversation between esteemed journalist and author Mary Ann Sieghart, and best-selling author and culture journalist Otegha Uwagba. The event will look beyond opera to better understand the challenges and barriers that remain for women across the creative industries, building on conversations started by Engender about how best to transform gender representation in the sector. Sarah Crabtree and Kate Wyatt add: ‘The Engender festival creates space for artists and audiences to come together for conversation and discovery. Audiences can join one of our Insight events, attend a brunch with librettists, or come to our opera-in-progress sessions to see the embryonic beginnings of new work.’ The Engender opera-in-progress series offers audiences a glimpse of the opera making process, and the opportunity to hear directly from artists. Presented in partnership with Shubbak Festival and The Centre for Less Good Ideas, South Africa – and supported by The British Council – this year’s offering comes as a result of 21 artists meeting online and fostering new, global relationships.  In the first session, Bongile G Lecoge-ZuluClare Loveday and Amira Kheir will discuss Where does the air go? – a new work which unpacks the intricacies of breath, and the way it changes across a day in the life of one woman. In the second session, interdisciplinary artists Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhshlisa luxx and Nancy Mounir will discuss TU’Q – a piece that deals with gaps in time, geographical distance, languages, and borders framed by a game of chess. Past, present and future play a game. Within the squares they speak a language. Together they negotiate: “where do we go from here?”

Public booking opens on Tuesday 21 June 2022. For more information, visit roh.org.uk/engender.