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Carmen Opera Opened Up Virtual Carmen 2003 The Desert Island Bastien and Bastienne

Carmen – The Choice of Don José

National tour of a new version of Carmen for 4 singers and piano. 3-phase education residency with 6000 school children from 60 schools in 7 London boroughs. 2 weeks of performances were watched by 3000 children from 60 schools with 18 of the schools performing. The EPOC production was an adaptation of Georges Bizet’s opera in four acts based on; the novel by Prosper Mérimée;  libretto by H.Meilhac and L. Halévy; and the English translation by Keith and Emma Warner.

Participating Schools: Addington High; Albion Primary; Applegarth Junior; Ashburton Junior; Ashmole Primary; Athelney; Blessed Sacrament Primary; Chingford Hall Community; Christ Church Bentinck Primary; Christ the King Primary; Coburg Primary; College Park Special School; Connaught Girls; Copenhagen Primary; Downsell Junior; Edward Wilson Primary; Elm Wood Primary; Essendine Primary; Grafton Primary; Gwyn Jones Primary; Hallfield Junior; Haseltine Primary; Immanuel and St Andrews Primary; Jessop Primary; Kingsley Primary; Kingswood Primary; Lark Hall Junior; Marvel's Lane; McEntee Secondary; Montem Primary; Newport Junior School; Norbury Manor High for Girls; North Westminster Community School; Norwood Girls School; Our Lady of Dolours RC Primary; Pooles Park Primary; Sedgehill; Selsdon High; St Andrews CE Primary; St Andrews Primary; St Edwards Primary School; St Francis RC Primary; St John Baptist; St Mary Magdalene CE Primary; St Peters Primary; St Saviours; St Saviours CE Primary; Stockwell Park; The Charter School; The Lammas School; Vittoria Primary; Walthamstow Girls; Warwick Boys; Waverly Girls; Winton Primary; Woodmansterne Primary.
Cast Harriet Williams (Carmen); Anna Margolis (Micaëla); Darren Fox (Don José); James Cleverton (Escamillo and narrator).
Artistic Team Duncan Robertson (Music Director/Pianist), Mark Tinkler (Director); Annabel Lee (Designer); Adam Carrée (Lighting Design); Glen Snowden (Choreographer).
Partners Hackney Music Service; Lewisham Education Arts Network; Southwark Excellence in Cities and Bexley Excellence Cluster; Milton Keynes Music Service; Surrey Music Service; and Milton Keynes City Orchestra.
Supporters Xchanging; Arts Council Lottery Fund: The Foyle Foundation; The Oppenheimer Foundation; Peter Minet Trust; The Alper Charitable Trust; Lord Harewood’s Charitable Settlement
Venues ADC Theatre, Cambridge; Ryan Theatre, Harrow School, Harrow; Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon; Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton; Cochrane Theatre, London; Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead; The Radlett Centre, Radlett.


“The schools involved in the Carmen project have been unanimous in their praise and enthusiasm for the project – every aspect of it – the presentation, the way your artists related to the children, and the performances. In terms of professional development for the teachers, and in terms of providing an enriching and extending experience for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, the project has been absolutely excellent. All the schools who were involved are desperate to take part in the next project and I know there are schools who did not take part last time who are keen to be involved in the next one. I do hope you are able to get the necessary funding, so that we can continue with this very valuable partnership”

Pauline Hinchliffe, Excellence in Cities Partnership, Southwark

“In my view one cannot overstate how EPOC brings a life-changing experience to our young people, many of whom have no previous experience of live opera. I hope that this experience will continue over the years to come so that strong relationships are established with the schools with whom you worked. I trust also that many more of Islington’s schools will eventually have access to this amazing work.”

Len Cunningham, Inspector for Improving Schools, Arts, Media & Technology, CEA@Islington

Letters from children to workshop leaders:

"Dear Duncan (Carmen pianist)
You are the kindest person. It was the best day of my life and I hope to see you again. The show was amazing. I liked the petals and especially the chocolate ice cream. I wished I could have had another one. Love from Allan. I will never forget you."

Allan (an Act IV toreador assistant)

"Dear Annabel (art workshop leader)
Thanks for coming into our class and showing me all the make-up and showing us the sashes and fans etc. I really enjoyed the Carmen story. I want to do it again. You are also very pretty."

Tamsin (an Act IV Gypsy girl)

"Dear Adam (Cochrane stage manager)
Thank you for letting some of us go back stage to see and do cool things behind the stage. It was scary looking down when we was making the rope go up and down to make the petals fall down."

Jake (on a technical team that helped operate the theatre flying ropes)

"Dear Tanja (art workshop leader)
Thank you for helping me with my make-up. My mum liked it and I hope I see you again. I have a really good day. I have never had such a fantastic day. I thought it was massive."

Gemeree (an Act IV Gypsy girl)

"Dear Cameron (music workshop leader)
I had a wonderful time. It was my first time in my life to go on stage. In class we always listen to the Carmen music and we always sing in class. I wish you were acting on stage with us.
Ozan (playing percussion in the Cochrane pit)
Dear Cameron and Ian (music and drama workshop leaders)
Thank you for teaching us the music and actions. It was really fun. I thought I was going to forget but I didn’t. I was really proud of myself."

Tony (an Act IV toreador assistant)

"Dear Harriet (Carmen)
You were great on Wednesday. I don’t know how you have so much energy. I was amazed. How did Don Jose’s hand get so close to you when he slapped you? You got to teach him a lesson. You got to slap him one."

Frazer (an Act IV toreador assistant)

"Dear Lizzie (lighting board operator)
I really liked it in the theatre when I went to do the lights. Me and Max loved it in the lighting box. How do you do the petals? Send a message."

Tylan (on a technical team that helped operate the lights)

"Dear Juwon (music workshop leader)
You was wicked when you was doing your funny singing when you was warming up the crowd. You should be a popstar. Rock on."

Abdul (musician in devised curtain raiser)


To see pictures of this production click on the logo

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Opera Opened Up

EPOC provided workshops to 10 schools in the area. EPOC toured to the schools performing the interactive presentation Opera Hotpot. Three of the schools then went on to work with EPOC’s team of Visiting Artists (Director, Musician and Designer) over two days the results of which were presented at the theatre.


Participating Schools: Lansdowne Special School, Lambeth; Stockwell Park Secondary School, Lambeth; Woodmansterne Primary School, Lambeth; St. Paul’s RC Secondary School, Greenwich; James Wolfe Primary School, Greenwich; Woodhill Primary School, Greenwich; Grafton Primary School, Islington; Pooles Park Primary School, Islington; Montem Primary School, Islington.
Animateurs Cameron Sinclair, Mark Tinkler, Annabel Lee, Duncan Robertson, Tim Godwin.
Performers Edmund Connelly; Ee Ping; Giles Davies; Natalie Raybould
Supporters LondonArts Regional Arts Lottery Grant, ENO Baylis, Greenwich Council Arts and Culture Office, Lambeth Education Business Partnership. Xchanging, Peter Moores Foundation


Opera Opened Up was conceived as an accessible and affordable series of workshops and stand-alone interactive presentations to be offered to schools and performing groups across the country on demand. Individually the workshops would stand alone as an introduction to opera. Booked in combination, they would form a broad-based, comprehensive and unique education in opera and music theatre, demonstrating why opera is so much more than the sum of its parts, and why it can do things that no other artform can.

The Opera Opened Up workshops were expected to address identified gaps in curriculum provision and to supplement attainment targets in music, drama, English and art & design. Children would have opportunities to work closely with professional artists and to participate in singing, acting, musical composition, art and design, with all the well-documented benefits that learning in and through the expressive arts brings: raising achievement across the curriculum, enhancing self-esteem, and improving personal motivation and social skills.

To see pictures of workshops created as part of Opera Opened Up click on the logo

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Virtual Carmen 2003


Participating Schools 6 Islington Schools: Blessed Sacrament RC Primary, Copenhagen Community Primary, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language College, Vittoria Primary School, St. Andrews CE Primary, Winton Primary School.
Artistic Team Cameron Sinclair (animateur); Johanna Allitt (director); Juwon Ogungbe (animateur); Tania van Outshoorn (animateur).
Partners Kings Cross Education Action Zone
Supporters Canon, Espresso, Global Leap, Global VideoCom, U-Lead, ViewCast, Xchanging and others. NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)
Performers Sian Edwards (composer); Royal College of Music Junior Dept orchestra; Darren Fox (Don Jose), Harriet Williams (Carmen); Juwon Ogungbe (Escamillo); 200 children from participating schools.


A ‘virtual’ Carmen involving laser technology, 6 schools and a live internet broadcast all conducted by Sian Edwards. Supported by NESTA, King’s Cross EAZ, CEA @ Islington, Canon

"Magnificent it truly was ….created a depth and richness of sound to bring tears the eyes and butterflies to the stomach. The children sat there transfixed. To engender this sort of cooperation from children in a generation where opera may be regarded as a lost art or perhaps, in many areas, one never found, is both brave and genius. The creativity of the young people was almost unbelievable. Watching a spectacle like this is awesome. Having seen this I am convinced of the need for as many children as possible to have access to the fantasy of opera. Refreshingly, the English Pocket Opera has the tools to blow away the stuffy image of the art and to demolish the high barriers to entry so often imposed by its guardians."

Will Andrews. Oxygen Magazine

"Imagine an opera where one of the singers can jump in a cab between acts, go to a different venue and continue in the same production. Imagine an opera that is being watched not just by several live audiences, but by people right round the globe from Alaska to New Zealand. And most amazing of all, imagine an opera where some of the script writers, singers, and scenery painters are primary schoolchildren from inner- city London. Virtual Carmen looks like being the event of the year."

Jack Schofield. The Guardian

"Visually, the show is amazing ……and it is uplifting to see an art form stereotyped as elitist being performed with such gusto by a bunch of inner- city kids. As they leave the stage following a final, rousing rendition of the "Toreador Song", there are whoops of delight.
Year 6 pupils in each primary wrote a scene, made costumes, designed sets, choreographed dance routines and painted pictures inspired by the story, as well as discussing its still relevant themes of moral choices and racial conflict. And, of course, they learnt to sing ~ very loudly. Copenhagen's head teacher Lindsey Jackson says it has been a wonderful experience. “They'll never forget it”."

Times Educational Supplement

To see resources generated for this production by Espresso click on the link and look for Opera (subscribers only)

To see pictures and video clips of this production click on the logo

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The Desert Island (L’isola disabitata)

Revival of British première production of Haydn’s opera for 3 performances at the Cochrane Theatre with newly appointed EPOC Music Director Sian Edwards conducting the Brandenburg Sinfonia


Cast Jessica Walker (Constanza); Sinéad Pratschke (Silvia); Richard Morrison (Enrico), David Murphy (Fernando).
Artistic Team Sian Edwards (Conductor); Mark Tinkler (Director); Annabel Lee (Designer); Adam Carrée (Lighting Design); Duncan Robertson (Continuo); Glen Snowden (Choreography); Frances Waddington/Sarah Hrida (Scenic Artists).
Venue/s Cochrane Theatre, London; Cholmondeley Castle, Malpas, Cheshire; Stubbings Opera Festival, Maidenhead.
Orchestra Brandenburg Sinfonia
Supporters Xchanging; Graham White


"Annabel Lee’s set consisted of a large disc, tilted forward for Bastien, backwards for The Desert Island, thus suggesting the cave that has sheltered the sisters during their years of Crusoesque abandonment.  Effective lighting and colourful flats helped evoke the requisite atmosphere for Mark Tinkler’s resourceful and imaginative direction.  
The young cast were outstanding: This was an evening to cheer the heart."

Peter Branscombe. Early Music Review

"…this double bill of Mozart and Haydn, a co-production with English Pocket Opera Company (ex-Camberwell Pocket Opera) was just the ticket … John Warrack’s urbane and skilfully –rhymed translation … the orchestra … turned in a sterling performance … another valuable Ryedale initiative."

Opera Magazine

To read more about this production see 2002

To see pictures of this production click on the logo

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Bastien and Bastienne

Revival of 2002 production of Mozart’s opera for further performances at Cholmondeley and Stubbings Opera Festival.


Cast Sinéad Pratschke (Bastienne); Richard Morrison (Colas); David Murphy (Bastien)
Artistic Team Sian Edwards (Conductor); Mark Tinkler (Director); Annabel Lee (Designer); Adam Carrée (Lighting Design); Duncan Robertson (Continuo); Glen Snowden (Choreography); Frances Waddington/Sarah Hrida (Scenic Artists).
Venue/s Cochrane Theatre, London; Cholmondeley Castle, Malpas, Cheshire; Stubbings Opera Festival, Maidenhead.
Orchestra Brandenburg Ensemble.
Supporters Xchanging; Graham White


To read more about this production see 2002

To see pictures of this production click on the logo

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