The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)


Together the V&A and the Royal Opera House presented a landmark exhibition exploring a vivid story of opera from its origins in late-Renaissance Italy to the present day.

We worked alongside creative construction expert Qwerk to supply the technical elements for the immersive exhibition, the first to be held in the V&A’s new space, the Sainsbury Gallery.



Told through the lens of seven premieres in seven European cities, the exhibition takes guests on a journey through nearly 400 years, culminating in the international explosion of opera in the 20th and 21st centuries.

We worked with creative construction expert Qwerk to supply rigging, lighting, staging, AV and electrical to the project, including delivering the mechanical drive elements to replicate the hand operation of a model theatre of 1875. The period-style working model was complete with scenery that raised and lowered, frolicking mermaids and rolling waves.  



“Because the gallery is such a big space and the exhibition is on such a large scale, we needed to create impact and I think that one of the great things about working with Hawthorn is that they understand that challenge. We have the objects which are magical in their own right but with a subject like theatre, you need to be able to produce the scale and the impact and that’s where the technical elements are invaluable. With Hawthorn, you’re not just hiring the equipment, you’re getting the passion that it takes to put something like this together.”

Kate Bailey
Senior Curator and Producer, V&A

Photos by Marion Burnier