Earlier in the year, the Academy received over 30 items of formal wear (including shoes, jackets and dresses) from Dame Felicity Lott. As an alumna of the Academy, Dame Felicity remembered all too well the difficulties of sourcing appropriate formal wear as a student, and so she generously donated a number of items she wished to pass on to aspiring singers to wear to auditions, recitals, or performances. Since then, nearly a dozen Academy donors have followed suit, contributing their own items of clothing, with the express wish that students receive these items at no charge.

Many of the students who came to our evening wear giveaway (where masks, hand-sanitiser and social distancing policies were enforced) commented that they often struggle to afford dresses that are appropriate for performances. Others mentioned how meaningful it was that the Academy’s donors recognised that the way singers present themselves could be a barrier to delivering a great performance. Better yet, virtually every student said that wearing these items would help them to feel more confident on stage.

You’ll see from the photos just how delighted they were to be able to take home a gently used and no longer needed evening dress to add to their wardrobes. One student, Milette Gillow, even sent us images from a fashion shoot she'd organised with her new items!

The Academy would like to thank Dame Felicity for inspiring this event and all of the incredibly generous donors who donated their beautiful preloved evening and performance wear.