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Prince Charles and Camilla meet pupils taking part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall meet pupils taking part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival. Credit: PA Images

Charles and Camilla toured High House Production Park where students from South Essex College are taught a range of subjects.

They watched teenagers learning how to light a music performance - featuring a drummer, keyboard player and violinist - and make sure the sound levels were right.

Later they joined a Technical Theatre class where students were researching films and looking at the film career of Peter Sellers.

Megan Carey, 16, chatted to the Prince - a life-long fan of radio comedy show the Goons which featured Sellers - and said afterwards: "He seemed quite interested in what we were doing. He said to me 'you need to watch all of his films'."

Charles is patron of the Royal Opera House and in its cavernous production workshop he saw huge backdrops for productions and painted panels that will create the effect of a wood panelled room for a performance of Falstaff being staged in Amsterdam later in the year.

Alex Beard, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said: "The prince was hugely impressed, this is probably the best production facilities available to any opera house in the world - in terms of its scale, facilities and available natural light."


Charles tours arts production park in Essex

Prince of Wales. Credit: PA Images

The Prince of Wales will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of sets for new Royal Opera House productions when he visits the organisation's workshops today.

Charles will be joined by the Duchess of Cornwall for his tour of the High House Production Park in Purfleet, Essex, a world-class centre for technical skills, crafts and artistic production and training.

In the paint workshop, the royal couple will see huge sets and backdrops being created for the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's new production for the Royal Ballet, The Winter's Tale, which opens in April.

Charles and Camilla will also carry out a number of engagements in Essex, visiting The Bell, a country pub in Purleigh which dates from the 14th century, to meet staff and customers and see local produce.

The prince is patron of the not-for-profit organisation the Pub is the Hub, which supports licensees, rural pubs and community services.

The royal tour of Essex will end with a trip to the Palace Theatre in Westcliff-on-Sea, where Charles and Camilla will celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.

The royal couple will watch a performance of different scenes of Shakespeare's plays by local school children taking part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival.

Motorcyclist dies in crash in Purfleet

Essex Police are appealing for witnesses after a motorcyclist died in a road crash in Purfleet. It happened on the A1306 Arterial Road, at about 3.55pm on Sunday October 28 following a collision near the junction with Watts Crescent.

The rider of the motorcycle, a man in his 40s from Rainham, east London, died at the scene. A 53-year-old man from Purfleet, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and was later bailed until January 18 pending further enquiries.