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2010

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Carmen Dream The Park Pooles Park

Carmen: The Choice of Don José

 

Carmen was a multi-faceted singing project which ran throughout the academic year. It has been operated in a variety of ways for a number of different clients. The six projects promoted under the heading of Sing Op Carmen 2009/10 were all tailored to the particular need of each group of participants, but have shared common key ingredients including: resources; an in-school, interactive presentation Carmen Opera Blocks; Saturday Morning opera introductions for instrumental pupils; rehearsal/performances with clusters of between 3 and 12 schools; workshops in schools; and orchestral rehearsals. Projects concluded with performances by the following participants in the following venues:

  • Royal Albert Hall - with 31 Barnet Primary and Secondary Schools, regional music centre instrumental students, music A level students and A level dance students;
  • Royal Albert Hall - with 41 Camden Primary and Secondary schools and the Camden Youth Symphony Orchestra;
  • St Pancras Station, London - with 2 Camden Primary Schools;
  • Bloomsbury Theatre, London - with all 8 classes of the L’ile aux Enfants school, Kilburn;
  • Brookside Community Primary School, Street – with members of the Somerset Youth Choir
  • St. Catharine’s College Chapel, Cambridge – with local schools and the children’s choirs of Jesus College and St. Catharine’s College; and
  • Union Chapel, Islington, London - with choirs and classes from 5 Islington and Tower Hamlets.
Carmen

Olivia Ray

Elizabeth Menezes

Christina Gill

Don José

Charne Rochford

Stephen Anthony Brown

Daniel Meades

Escamillo

Dominic Barrand

Tom McVeigh

James Cleverton

Micaëla

Elinor Jane Moran

Anne Marchand

Music Director
Steven Neugarten
Designer
Juliette Digonnet
Narrators
Mark Tinkler
Ian Skelly
Directors
Mark Tinkler
Ian Mackenzie - Thurley

 

“I am writing to say a huge thank you for the Carmen project which culminated in the performance involving EPOC, our Youth Orchestra and the massed choir at the Albert Hall last week as part of Camden’s Schools Music Festival 2010. Carmen was a complete triumph! Once again you were all totally inspirational both at rehearsals, in workshops and at the performance. Through your fantastic production you have again introduced hundreds of pupils and parents to the amazing world of opera and, in particular, to the story of Carmen in a truly imaginative and participatory way. Working with you at EPOC has been a wonderful experience and a real privilege. On behalf of everyone in Camden please accept our heartfelt thanks!”

Head of Music Service, London Borough of Camden

“The Opera Blocks was great and I had very positive feedback from staff and kids. Was told by one teacher that it was the best whole school workshop they had ever seen. Thanks”

Music Coordinator, Ashmount Primary School, Islington 2010

“We had the Carmen performance yesterday at school and both the children and staff absolutely loved it, it was fantastic!”

Class teacher, Drayton Park Primary School, Islington, 2010

“We had the Carmen presentation in school today and it was absolutely AMAZING! Adults and children really loved it. We had a great afternoon! Thank you so much to your very talented staff!”

Class Teacher, Pakeman Primary School Islington 2010

“I found the children's singing very moving and what an inspiration not only for everyone directly involved, but the audience as well – congratulations!.”

Audience member, Union Chapel

“It was education at its best with the magic ingredient - it was fun”

Teacher, Monken Hadley School, Barnet

“The workshop was a fun and educational approach to this complex art form and the children were riveted by the whole process, especially by the voices of the visiting opera singers. It was fascinating to observe their amazed reaction to the power of the trained ‘bel canto’ voice full on and close up. The workshop was thoroughly enjoyed by all and the children gained a brilliant insight into the wonderful world of opera."

Summer Newsletter. Parkgate House School

“Olivia, Dominic and Steven were brilliant and were a big success with the childrenThe session was fun, engaging and gave lots of children the opportunity to experience a small snippet of opera, first hand. All the adults in the room too enjoyed the experience and were full of praise and wanted me to pass on their thanks too.”

Music Coordinator St. Mary’s School, East Barnet

“I have to say - it was a fantastic presentation enjoyed by all.  Our full Senior Leadership team were there ( a first!) giving support from the back.  Olivia and Dominic were brilliant with the children - and even drew in two of the staff for the 'DIY' opera."

Barnet Primary School Teacher

“We had your guys in this morning and just wanted to let you know how fantastic they were!”.

Head of Music, London Academy, Barnet

“We were blown away!! Fabulous singing and the whole thing was so entertaining. The boys absolutely loved it." 

Teacher, Queen Elizabeth Boys School (Secondary)

“Just wanted to say how much we enjoyed Carmen on Sunday.  Olivia, Dominic and Steven were a pleasure to have with us and I really appreciate how they tailored the workshops to fit us, a smaller group than they are used to working with.  Olivia and Dominic built up a great rapport with the children and everyone left the day smiling and having learnt something too"

Teaching & Learning Co-ordinator (Vocal & Choral) Somerset Music

“Starting with the first workshops on those snowy days and finishing with Barnet Schools at the Royal Albert Hall,  the whole concept from the beginning was exactly right and brilliant: the dilemmas, the ways that the singers communicated this, their presence with the children, just everything that happened with the project worked well and opened children’s (and many teachers’) eyes and ears to what an opera could mean for them. Congratulations to everyone”

Curriculum Adviser for Teaching and Learning (Music), London Borough of Barnet

“You made opera cool for kids' in the same way that others have made Shakespeare cool. It was brilliant.”

Head teacher Barnet Primary School

“The children had a fantastic rewarding experience and their parents were extremely proud of them”

Music Teacher. Barnet Primary School

"I just wanted to express my gratitude to you for everything you have done for our school over the past few months. We certainly could never have undertaken any such ambitious project without all your guidance, expertise and hard graft! It was a truly wonderful experience on Friday, seeing the fruits of your and the children's hard labours: what a feat to accomplish for a primary school!
I think it will be a very special memory that all the pupils (and teachers!) will keep for many, many years to come. Having such a marvellous opportunity to involve the whole school, with the added bonus of professional singers and musicians, will have had an incredibly positive impact on each of their lives."

Teacher, L’ile aux Enfants school, London
 

To see pictures and videos relating to the Carmen click the logo 

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Dream

An art, music and design project for schools with:
   
Participating Schools Betty Layward Primary School, Hackney; Pooles Park Primary School, Islington; Drayton Park Primary School, Islington; Robert Blair Primary School, Islington.
Cast Hermia, Catrine Kirkman; Lysander, Daniel Roddick; Puck, Ceridwen Smith; Oberon, Steven Lello; Titania, Lisa Castle; Demetrius, Edward Lee; Helena, Elinor Jane Moran; Bottom, Ronan McMahon.
Artistic Team Director, Ian Mackenzie-Thurley; Music Director, Magnus Gilljam; Choreographer, Kayleigh Anger; Lighting Designer, Phil Bentley; Stage Manager, Heather Young; Original Adaptation, Ian Mackenzie-Thurley.
CSM Student Designers Anne Bengard, Yulia Naili, Katja Siimes, Kesha Krutskikh, James Barnett, Libby Todd, Adithio Noviello, Ria Menegatos, Carmen Ho, Steph Johns, Isabelle Gelot, Ria Pryke and Heidi Ting
CSM Ambassadors and Workshop Leaders Libby Todd, Harriet Walker, Florence Chow, Juliette Digonnet, Milda Lembertait, Bianca Turner, Poppy Flint
Supporters University of the Arts Widening Participation Fund, Creative Partnerships (A New Direction),
The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. J L S Lonsdale Charitable Trust. Mr. P.T. Kirkman.
Venues The Cochrane Theatre, London; Central St. Martins Back Hill Design Studios; the Dream Space at Pooles Park Primary School, London.
Partners The Cochrane Theatre, London; Central St. Martins College of Art; Pooles Park Primary School, London.

 

The 5-step Art and Design Project was for four primary schools (30 - 60 children each) who undertook a half term-long design project to design and fabricate their musical and visual responses to what they had seen, heard and learned after visiting studios at an art college and attending performances of an opera. The results were then part of an interactive exhibition in a newly created magical Dream Space; a hall at Pooles Park Primary School. 20-30 children from each school took part.

Following the success of their 2008 & 2009 collaborations on Mozart's Don Giovanni and Thomas’ opera Hamlet, Music Platform and English Pocket Opera Company (EPOC), in conjunction with Central St. Martin’s BA Theatre: design for performance course - University of the Arts London, staged a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream & Purcell's The Fairy Queen entitled ‘Dream’ early in 2010 which opened at the Cochrane Theatre, Holborn.

"Pooles Park, along with three other schools - Drayton Park, Robert Blair and an out of borough school have been involved in a cross curricular theatre design project, working in collaboration with students from St Martins Art College. This has been a highly creative and outstanding design based project based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and linked to the theme of aspiration, ambition and dreams. Pupils and students have worked collaboratively to transform the hall into a magical and fantasy theatre/ film set complete with dream rooms, tents and amazing sculptures. The blackened hall was atmospherically lit with range of lighting including ultra violet light and smoke!  A range of concert performances have taken place bringing together the community and school choirs. This project provides evidence of exciting learning though PHSE, the creative curriculum and learning communities."

London Borough of Islington Education Raising Attainment Programme Review carried out by consultants
Penny Kenway (Early Years SIO), Kim Clapham (Senior Teaching and Learning Consultant, English Subject Lead).

 

To see pictures relating to the Dream click the logo

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An opera commission with Betty Layward School, Hackney

   
Participants 450 children of Betty Layward School in Hackney but particularly the two classes of year 4
Partners A New Direction (Creative Partnerships)
Animateurs Ian Mackenzie Thurley, Pete Letanka, Florence Chow, Libby Todd, Kayleigh Anger
Performers, librettists, designers, composers Children of Betty Layward School.
Supporters Creative Partnerships, A New Direction
Venue/s Hoxton Music Hall, London; The Cochrane Theatre, London; Central St. Martins Back Hill Design Studios; the Dream Space at Pooles Park Primary School, London.

An opera by, and with, children that celebrated the traditional and musical heritage of the school community: the stories of their journeys to Hackney and of how those journeys have changed their lives.

Opera Blocks

An introduction to how to set a story to music performed for the whole school in February.

Design it!

Children visited the design studios at Central St. Martins Design studios (Back Hill) for a practical intro to set, prop and costume design, set modelling, costume drawing, prop making led by CSM graduate and undergraduate mentors.

Dream.

Children attended one-hour musical, ‘promenade’ performance of Dream based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Cochrane Theatre alongside 4 EPOC singers, 4 actors and 13 designers.

Design, Composition and Drama Workshops

In-school workshops with workshop leaders and Central St. Martins College of Art.

Dream Space Exhibition

Trip to Interactive exhibition at the ‘Dream Space’; the specially created one-week musical installation of children’s and students’ work at Pooles Park School.

The Park - Performance at Hoxton Hall

The Park received its premiere performance by children.

“Could you please pass on my heartfelt thanks to the whole team for their amazing show today. The feedback from staff and children alike was glowing and it was so valuable to the children to see opera being performed in such a fun way. You have even managed to persuade one of our staff to go and see an opera in the theatre! Thanks once again.”

Joanne Kilpatrick. Leader of Learning for Music, Extended Schools and Creativity, Hackney Primary School

To see pictures relating to the The Park click the logo

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In Pooles Park Primary School, Finsbury Park, where the company is based, a series of initiatives has been undertaken to engage with the school and the local community including:

  • running the school choir – including concerts and an appearance on the BBC’s CBeebies;
  • leading singing assemblies – including a whole school concert followed by a Family Food Picnic in the school’s garden;
  • establishing a Community Choir for parents, school children, staff and the members of the surrounding community – including concerts and a new website (see also Pooles Park Community Choir);
  • organising volunteers and workshop leader trainees to run whole class recorder tuition, after-school keyboard lessons, and in-class music support; and
  • leading an appeal to develop the school facilities and resources for a community centre – the Pooles Park Opera House.

To read more about the Pooles Park Opera House click here.
To see pictures relating to the Pooles Park Opera House click the logo

In addition, EPOC commissioned and facilitated the work of several other groups in the school including:

  • Central Saint Martin’s College of Art (University of the Arts, London) - part of a three way partnership between the school, CSM and EPOC which included  the project to develop the west end of the school buildings (4 hall spaces and assorted other spaces) as the ‘Opera House’ - a centre for the community and local schools with a performance space at its heart to act as a resource for all the school’s stakeholders: CSM students, pupils, parents, teachers, staff, governors and the wider community;
  • A New Direction (Creative Partnerships) – bringing project practitioners together with those from Music Platform
  • Cochrane Theatre – which resulted in dancers, singers and musicians rehearsing at the school, the lower phase of the school got to see the dress rehearsal of Dick Whittington in school and the school’s Upper Phase attending the first performance of the pantomime at the Cochrane Theatre.
  • Empty Box Theatre – which resulted in the company giving workshops to selected classes and performing their new work to the entire school.
  • ‘C’ Theatre - which resulted in the company having a three-week residency in the school which included; improvisation workshops; performances of The Princess and the Pea; and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Training

In addition to project-based training for teachers EPOC has offered trainee workshop leaders and volunteers in classroom settings and placement positions to BA students Central School of Speech and Dram and MA students from City University.


To read more about our work at Pooles Park see EPOC and Pooles Park in the Partners section of the website.

To read more about our work with Central St. Martin’s see EPOC and CSM in the Partners section of the website.

To see pictures of the work EPOC has been doing at Pooles Park click the logo.

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