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The Clowns

New production of Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci (The Clowns) for 6 singers and an orchestra of 4 with a newly commissioned orchestral arrangement by Cameron Sinclair. 3-phase education residency with 12,000 school children from 74 schools in 9 London boroughs. 2 weeks of performances at the Cochrane Theatre and 1 week of performances at Greenwich Theatre.


Participating Schools: Abbey Primary School, Bexley; Amhurst Primary Primary School, Hackney; Athelney Primary School, Lewisham; Beaumont Primary School, Waltham Forest; Bishop Thomas Grant R.C. Secondary School, Lambeth; Blessed Sacrament Primary School, Islington; Brookfield House, Special, Primary & Secondary School, Waltham Forest; Chingford Hall Primary School, Waltham Forest; Chisenhale Primary School, Tower Hamlets; Clara Grant Primary School, Tower Hamlets; Cobourg Primary School, Southwark; Coopers Lane Primary School, Lewisham; Copenhagen Primary School, Islington; Craven Park Primary School, Hackney; Curwen Primary School, Newham; Daubeney Primary School, Hackney; Dunraven Secondary School, Lambeth; Edinburgh Primary School, Waltham Forest; Elfrida Primary School, Lewisham; Elm Court Special School, Lambeth; Elmhurst Primary School, Newham; Gainsborough Primary School, Newham; Gainsborough Primary School, Hackney; Gloucester Primary School, Southwark; Good Shepherd Primary School, Lewisham; Grafton Primary School, Islington; Grasmere Primary School, Hackney; Handsworth Primary School, Waltham Forest; Hillyfields Primary School, Waltham Forest; Holmleigh Primary School, Hackney; Ilderton Primary School, Southwark; Immanuel and St Andrews Primary School, Lambeth; John Baptist CE Primary School, Lewisham; John Ruskin Primary School; Joseph Clarke Special, Primary & Secondary School, Waltham Forest; La Retraite R.C Girls School Secondary School; Laycock  Primary School, Islington; Montem Primary School, Islington; New Woodlands SEN, Primary School, Lewisham; Northwood Primary School, Bexley; Notre Dame RC Girls Secondary School, Southwark; Old Palace Primary School, Tower Hamlets; Our Lady's Convent High School Secondary School, Hackney; Pakeman Primary School, Islington; Pendragon Special Secondary School, Lewisham; Pooles Park Primary School, Islington; Randal Cremer Primary School Hackney; Redlands Primary School, Tower Hamlets; Robert Blair Primary School, Islington; Rushmore Primary School, Hackney; Rushy Green Primary School, Lewisham; Shaftesbury Primary School, Newham; Southlake Primary School, Bexley; St Aloysius College Secondary School, (Boys), Islington; St Augustine's Primary School, Lewisham; St Helen's R C Primary School, Newham; St John's Primary School; St Joseph's Primary School, St Jude and St. Paul's Primary School; St Lukes C of E Primary School, Tower Hamlets; St Mary and St Michael Primary School, Tower Hamlets; St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Waltham Forest; St Mary's Primary School, Hackney; St. Bernadette's Primary School, Lambeth; Stepney Greencoat C of E Primary School, Tower Hamlets; Stockwell Park Secondary School, Lambeth; The City of London Academy Secondary School, Southwark; The Skinners' Company's Secondary School for Girls, Hackney; Trinity C of E Secondary School, Bexley; Tyssen Community Primary School, Hackney; Wellington Primary School, Tower Hamlets; Wellington Primary Primary School, Tower Hamlets; Winns Primary School, Waltham Forest; Yerbury Primary School, Islington.
Cast Joe Corbett (Silvio); Natalie Raybould (Nedda); Ronald Samm (Canio); Philip O’Brien (Beppe); Sarah Estill (Rosina); Mark Holland, Simon Thorpe (Tonio);
Orchestra: Duncan Robertson (Piano); Helen Paskins (Clarinets); Kai Hoffmann (Horn); Vanessa Lucas-Smith (Cello).
Animateurs Jo Allitt, Patrick Davey (Drama Workshop Leaders); Lucy Algar (Art Workshop Leaders); Cameron Sinclair, Zara Nunn, Michael Roulston (Music Workshop Leaders).
Artistic Team Sian Edwards (Guest Conductor); Mark Tinkler (Director); Annabel Lee (Designer); Duncan Robertson (Music Director); Glen Snowdon (Choreographer); Eleanor Salter (Assistant Director).
Partners Bexley Excellence Cluster; CEA @ Islington; Clapham Park Project; Downham and Bellingham Education Achievement Zone; Hackney Music Service; Newham School Improvement Support Service; Southwark Excellence in Cities (Gifted and Talented strand); London Borough of Tower Hamlets LEA; Waltham Forest Edu-Action; Camden Music Service; Edmonton EAZ, Enfield; Haringey Music and Performing Arts; Westminster EAZ.
Supporters Arts Council England; Xchanging; Sir William Boreman’s Foundation
Venues Cochrane Theatre, London; Greenwich Theatre, Greenwich, London.


“Ravanelli is Ronald Samm from the English Pocket Opera Company, dressed up as an Italian chef. He and his assistant are telling a group of primary school children about the universal ingredients of opera and musical theatre. The pair clear their throats and the school hall fills with the beautiful sound of two harmonious singers. The children are wide eyed at the powerful song emanating from the two ordinary looking chaps who have just walked in off the street. The scene would surely delight Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.”

Linda Blackburne. 25 March 2005. Times Educational Supplement

“It was a great mix of learning and fun, but most of all I think the children have opened their minds to opera – which we’re delighted about.”

Music Leader, Holy Trinity Primary School, Camden

“The children had an amazing and enriching experience and have been talking about nothing else ever since”

Year 3 Teacher, Eleanor Palmer Primary School, Camden

“It was an unforgettable experience”

Music Coordinator, St. Cuthbert Mayne RC Junior School, Hemel Hempstead

“Thank you for all you’ve done for me like when you told us all the moves in the wedding procession and told me there was a pit and warned me not to fall in! My family was really impressed when I sang. My sister loved the opera a lot and liked Pagliaccio the best”

Leon, Year 3,Eleanor Palmer Primary School, Camden

“Thank you for the best day of my life! Personally I hate the opera, but you made it great.”

Niall, Year 3, Eleanor Palmer Primary School, Camden

“I liked your opera The Clowns. I very nearly cried at the end. I learnt a lot of things from your opera like when you make a sacrifice, you may get a reward in the end and when you kill someone, you won’t just kill them, you may never forgive yourself again.”

Peter, Year 5, Parkway Primary School, Bexley

“I said that when I grow up I will be a vet because I like animals, but when I went [to the theatre] I changed my mind. Maybe I can be an actor, but an Italian one!!! When the performance finished I felt like doing it again and again.”

Ayuma, Year 5,  Stamford Hill Primary School, Haringey

“I would love to be in opera again when I’m older, because EPOC made it really inspiring.”

Niamh, Year 5, St. Albert the Great Primary School, Hemel Hempstead

“The workshop leaders let us work independently and trusted us to work by ourselves and produce a play. It was a once in a lifetime experience – I was in a real life West End theatre performing.”

Natalie, Year 8, City of London Academy, Southwark

“You don’t know how much difference you have made to these children’s lives. Since EPOC came into school the difference in achievement in Art, Drama and Music has been measurable.”

Headmistress, Glenbrook School, Lambeth

“I feel that we have grown through the experience (of this project), especially the more shy children in the class. Your project has opened the children’s eyes and they have discovered a new medium through which to express themselves. I also heard parents remark that they would never normally attend an opera, but that they were pleasantly surprised. They claimed they found it thoroughly entertaining when they expected to be bored… we are enormously grateful that there are people like you around.”

Teacher, St. John Baptist Primary School, Lewisham

“Just a quick note to say how absolutely brilliant I thought that the EPOC work was at  Greenwich Theatre last week - I thought the show was great and the kids absolutely loved it throughout - the comments after the show were extraordinarily positive from the teachers and the children alike…. Thank you again though for bringing such lively and engaging education work to the venue.”

Lorna Rees, Education Manager, Greenwich Theatre

“What a performance. So clever! Congratulations to EPOC, a group of people who really know about children.“

Hackney Music Service


To see pictures of this production click on the logo