Liverpool-based European Opera Centre is set to launch a unique educational programme for Merseyside schools.
With significant investment from Williams Liverpool BMW, the music and drama based programme will address a major gap in arts educational provision.
Devised in consultation with Liverpool Hope and Edge Hill Universities, the programme will be based upon the award-winning animated opera film of Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’, which the Centre instigated and was taken up by the BBC.
From 2002 the Centre worked closely with the BBC on the production of the film and since then versions of the animated film have been recreated in Catalan, Czech, English, French and Spanish with Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Available in different formats, the film is still actively being utilised to reach people who might otherwise not experience opera. Opéra de Limoges is presenting to family audiences eight performances with live orchestra in the current season, with the first Czech screening with live orchestra planned for Prague in 2018.
This new educational use of the film will initially be piloted by Barlows Primary School in Fazakerley during March 2017 and head teacher Janet Taylor is firmly backing the programme.
Janet Taylor said: “Barlows is always open to new ideas, especially when as in this case a real partnership develops. The European Opera Centre is able to call upon resources which would not otherwise be available to us. For instance, we shall be able to use the Spanish version of the film to help deliver the teaching of our designated second language. Equally, the Centre has openly welcomed our expertise in education. Having the support of two of the region’s universities is an added bonus. Naturally, knowing that the programme is supported by Williams Liverpool BMW – so well established in the region – will add further excitement to the children involved. ”
The European Opera Centre’s Chief Executive, Kenneth Baird, said: “We are fortunate to have found such a remarkable school as a partner in developing this project. Barlows Primary School has been judged outstanding over many years by Ofsted and now has a role in training teachers. Thanks to the whole-hearted support of Janet Taylor, we shall spend a full week at the school in March guiding 60 children of 9 to 11 in their own take on the animated opera. They’ll perform their shortened version on the final day. Janet and her team are guiding the project to ensure it helps deliver the national curriculum and has a real educational impact. It will be evaluated by our partner universities and then offered to schools across Merseyside. We are most grateful to Williams Liverpool BMW their support - both practical and financial – of our educational programme.”
The Liverpool Learning Partnership, which brings together all of the learning establishments within the city, is also firmly backing the idea and CEO Elaine Rees added: “The launch of this educational programme is a great example of how culture, business and schools can work together to harness the talent of children. In Liverpool Learning Partnership, we are driving the Liverpool Cultural Education Partnership, whose aim is to ensure the children of our vibrant city have meaningful engagement with arts and culture. This is a wonderful initiative, and once embedded, could transform the lives of many young people in our city.”
Nick Cook, managing director at Williams, commented: “It is with great delight that we are able to support such a promising programme dedicated to the schools in the area.
“It is a shame that there is little, or no, educational work of any kind in the area relating to opera and music theatre, and so it is fantastic that something new and unique has been developed with the younger generation in mind.”
Nick added: “We look forward to witnessing the rising talent that will emanate from this initiative.”
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