Dr Diana Owen, Director-General of the Royal Over-Seas League, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to culture and tourism.

Diana joined the Royal Over-Seas League in December 2017, a not-for-profit members organisation which promotes the arts and education to its 16,000 members throughout the UK, Commonwealth, and wider world. This is expressed most vividly through ROSL’s Annual Music Competition, which has been supporting young classical musicians for 66 years.

This role is the culmination of a career in the culture and heritage sectors for Diana, first at the National Trust from 1988-2007, with responsibility for properties across South East England, followed by a decade spent as the Chief Executive Officer of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, greatly increasing its profile and leading the organisation through the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth in 2016. 

Edinburgh’s long established club and accommodation provider, the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL), will close on the 31 January for refurbishment.

The building, located at 100 Princes Street, requires significant upgrading and the ROSL is now considering its future, following advice from independent building specialists.

As an Edinburgh fixture since 1930, the ROSL will continue its strong participation in the city’s arts, culture and hospitality scene by moving its entire operation to the Royal Scots Club, located at 29-31 Abercromby Place, for the foreseeable future. 

Diana Owen, Director General of ROSL, comments: “The Royal Over-Seas League plays an important role at the heart of Edinburgh’s cultural scene and this will be safeguarded while we review the future of our listed building.  The partnership with the Royal Scots Club will enable us to provide home-away-from-home clubhouse facilities for members who visit or live in Edinburgh.

The Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Diana Owen as Director-General; who will take up her appointment on Monday 4 December. Her predecessor, Major General Roddy Porter MBE, stepped down from the role in August.

Diana Owen brings extensive experience of working in the not for profit sector, with the National Trust and for the last 10 years as Chief Executive of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford upon Avon, a global hub for Shakespeare fans everywhere. Diana has grown the SBT’s national and international profile and reputation leading significant cultural and capital projects in Stratford and with partners worldwide.

Sir David Brewer, ROSL Chairman, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Diana to the ROSL family, and believe Diana’s experience, professionalism and energy will help shape a bright future for our international membership organisation.”

Royal Over-Seas League celebrates 65 years of excellence in the arts with a series of celebratory concerts this October. 

It is hard to imagine a Royal Over-Seas League without its Annual Music Competition, a centrepiece of the ROSL ARTS programme and a gathering point for musicians and audiences from around the world. The Competition grew out of a series of concerts inaugurated at Over-Seas House London in 1947 under the banner ‘Festival of Commonwealth Youth’. The Festival became competitive in 1952 and it’s this anniversary we now mark.

ROSL ARTS and BEARSPACE are delighted to launch NO PLACE, an exhibition of emerging artists work examining the theme of finding home at Over-Seas House from Thursday 14 September until January 2018.

Home and travel are two essential elements in our lifestyle – balancing our need to create a strong home identity with the desire to explore and experience adventure and escapism through travel. One element often influences the other.

NO PLACE explores the idea of creating a ‘home away from home’, and is influenced by the Royal Over-Seas League – the members’ club in which it is located. Members’ clubs, especially ROSL, pride themselves on providing the familiar comforts of home within the clubhouse environment. 

But is home a notion or a location? A selection of emerging artists have been invited to explore this theme through a range of mediums and viewpoints; investigating displacement, and a sense of place. The artists who have been invited to exhibit by BEARSPACE and ROSL ARTS are Lucinda Metcalfe, Dominic Bradnum, Chris Hawtin, Natasha Kissell, Nadja Gabriela Plein and Jane Ward. The varied, contemporary art practices offer fresh perspectives in the historic space of Over-Seas House, where the works in NO PLACE will be a welcomed feature of this ‘home from home’ in Central London. 

65th ROSL ANNUAL MUSIC COMPETITION: Grand Final prize of £20,000 won by James Buckle bass trombone

HRH Princess Alexandra presented the British bass trombonist James Buckle with the prestigious Gold Medal at last night’s 65th ROSL Annual Music Competition Grand Final, held at Cadogan Hall. In a concert of extraordinarily high quality Buckle competed against section finalists Mathilde Milwidsky violin, Dominic Degavino piano and Nicholas Mogg baritone for the top prize.