Music, theatre and dance
An active social life is an important part of the university experience and you can take part in or watch a wide range of music, drama and dance performances or workshops on campus. And don’t worry if you don’t like being on stage: there’s plenty of behind the scenes activities to take part in too.
We’re well-known for our music making by students and visiting musicians and as a venue for performance.
The Choir of Royal Holloway (Chapel Choir) broadcasts regularly on the radio, tours overseas every summer and has recorded ten CDs since 2009. They also lead midweek music, which occurs every Wednesday during term time, in the Founder’s chapel. The mixed choir comprises 24 Choral Scholars. Our Symphony Orchestra performs an annual concert at St John Smith’s Square in London.
We also have Chamber and String Orchestras, Balkan Ensemble, wind bands, big bands, a New Music Group, small jazz groups, the Gospel Choir and a capella group Absolute Harmony. As a student at Royal Holloway you can join one of these music groups or attend some of their performances.
Since 2015, the King’s Singers – one of the world’s most celebrated vocal ensembles – have been in residence at Royal Holloway, meaning they perform both as an individual group and with other singers such as the Chapel Choir regularly.
There are regular lunchtime and evening music performances on campus. In the past, we’ve hosted a Javanese Gamelan group and a Japanese Taiko Drumming ensemble. We’ve also held a master class and concert by renowned Russian pianist Sergei Dukachev.
So far in 2016, Matthew Stanley has performed a recital of music composed or arranged by some of the foremost composers/pianists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, we've played host to the 'mini-festival' The Beethoven Project featuring performances by the London Mozart Players, the Royal Holloway Chamber Orchestra and the Tippett Quartet.
Alumna Sarah Fox, a world-renowed soprano, has performed songs from America with the Choir of Royal Holloway and held a masterclass for students, staff and members of the public.
You can discover what else is on this year on our events page.
Theatre and dance
Our Drama and Media Arts departments also regularly host visiting performers and offer plenty of chances to get involved in College productions, both on stage and behind the scenes.
The Drama Society is open to all students and produces several plays each year, including an open air summer production performed in the Founder’s South Quad. Recent productions have included Twelfth Night, Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur and A Clockwork Orange. The French, German, History and Classical societies have also produced award-winning plays: often in other languages.
A number of societies span music, drama and dance. For example, the Musical Theatre Society and Savoy Opera Society perform operas and musicals, often with large casts playing to capacity audiences in the Students’ Union.
In recent years, the Musical Theatre Society has toured productions off campus, including at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre, while the Savoy Opera Society has played to sell-out crowds both locally and further afield.
The Dance Society offers classes in all kinds of styles and stages frequent productions as well as running inter-university competitions.
Student Workshop stages works ranging from the traditional to the more challenging and contemporary, such as Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage. Our Centre for Japanese Noh Drama also opens the door to an art form rarely seen outside of Asia.
You can enjoy lots of these performances in our contemporary Caryl Churchil Theatre or our converted 19th century boiler room or take part in some productions yourself.