Open Court (Participation)

Since August 2021 we have been reimaging our area of Participation work and defining a clearer strategic direction.

During the continued pandemic and following a year of lockdowns, with the gap ever widening between the most privileged and most vulnerable in our society, we are faced with a need to re-think and re- focus our work to ensure that our programme best serves a ‘new’ cultural landscape.

The first part of this journey has been to rename and redefine the Participation portfolio of work as Open Court. The first Open Court occurred in 2013 with writers being given the keys to take over the Royal Court. In 2016, Young Court was founded and an Open Court for Young People occurred. Most recently, in 2020.the Open Court; Climate Emergency was programmed.

In October of 2021 we have renamed our programme as Open Court, standing on the shoulders of these dynamic and inclusive gestures, with a vision to open the Royal Court Theatre to everyone with the hope of sparking and advancing creative potential.

The Open Court Programme places at the heart of our practice; space to spark and advance the creative potential in everyone. Our work is centred around 8 key principles.

1.       Create access to theatre as a right, not a privilege: to spark imagination, curiosity & life-long access to the arts

2.       Thread and embed new writing & writers: all work delivered through this lens, writing as a process in its own right

3.       Ignite the creative potential in everyone: working across communities and with young people

4.       Support freelance artists, creating opportunities for new, early career and existing artists.

5.       Making the Theatre and influencing the Education sector to become more reflective of our society: creating viable pathways into the theatre industry and interrogating recruitment processes

6.       Taking civic responsibility: proactively contributing to the recovery and rebuilding of our local and wider pan-London communities to ensure climate justice is an active part of all our programmes.

7.       Advocating and taking accountability for practice: with partnerships and participants (challenging all forms of oppression) 

8.       Participative co creation: working holistically, in partnership to co create projects outside and inside (working across departments) at the Royal Court.

We will be updating our section of the website over the next month, please do revisit to find out more about the Open Court programmes going forward or contact us on

Participation is supported by The Backstage Trust, The Aurum Charitable Trust, The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust, Chapman Charitable Trust, CHK Charities Limited, The Ernest Cook Trust, Noël Coward Foundation, The Haberdashers’ Company, John Lyon’s Charity, Orange Tree Trust and Richard Radcliffe Charitable Trust.