The long term benefits of creative expression
Oxford Opera is currently the only opera company in Oxford City that offers a specific operatic performance targeted at children, as well as being the only opera company in the city that regularly offers in-school workshops. Opera is rarely, if ever, featured in music lessons at primary school – and this deprives children of access to a musical world that can help them develop crucial skills in personal development. Opera not only supports children’s musical understanding; it links to ideas and concepts that are touched upon in many other core curriculum subjects, such as English Literature or foreign languages. Oxford Opera workshops include team-building and focus exercises that will help support children’s personal and academic development in other fields.
“They have given once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to many children in our area and have created many new lovers of opera.”
Layla Moran MP
Bringing opera to the children and young people of Oxfordshire is at the very core of Oxford Opera’s vision. We believe that producing educational projects of an outstanding quality is crucially important to the cultural life of Oxford. By introducing young people to opera, and immersing them in this fascinating genre, we are contributing to the rich cultural fabric of this city.
It is vitally important for young people to have the opportunity to experience the arts – whether that is through our workshops, partaking in our Youth Chorus, or even coming to see the Family Matinee of our productions.
Oxford Opera’s creative workshops have three primary aims:
1. To provide creative opportunities and outlets to young people in Oxfordshire
2. To support musical education within schools in Oxfordshire
3. To introduce young people to the opera, or to expand their awareness of the genre
Children and young people will go on an adventure through the world of ‘The Magic Flute’, and on the
way interact with key characters and musical excerpts. This workshop is led by a facilitator, and also
includes pre-recorded video messages and musical clips from the main characters in the opera.
Our workshops are a compelling and novel way to introduce children and young people to
opera. As they help Tamino on his adventure the children will become involved in games,
improvisation exercises, and musical challenges, all designed to develop children’s
confidence, performance skills, and to strengthen team working abilities.
The workshop itself is broken down into a series of six challenges which cover the above three core skills;
challenges vary from ‘The Queen of the Night’s Lightning Strike’ (wherein the children must work as
teams to find and retrieve the mysterious magic flute) to ‘Tamino’s Trial’ (wherein the children have the
opportunity to develop their arts and crafts skills by creating props relevant to the opera’s storyline).
In this workshop we will examine the many different roles/people that are required to create an opera,
and demonstrate to the children that there are myriad career options available to them in the arts – it’s
not just all about standing on stage!
Our creative workshops have been developed specifically to be as safe and as accessible as possible; they
require only one member of Oxford Opera staff to be present, and they can be either live in the room or
run remotely on Zoom / video chat. Oxford Opera’s aim with the creation of these workshops is that the
artistic quality of the workshops is actually enhanced, not reduced, by utilising digital theatre.
Including pre-recorded ‘Zoom calls’ from major characters in the opera, and immersive elements
incorporated into the digital staging, we celebrate the fact that the children are involved in the story
‘remotely’. By doing so, and by making a Zoom call fun, we reduce the negative associations that many
young people now have with learning via video link – associations that have only been created by the
unfortunate necessity of remote learning over the past year. With these workshops Oxford Opera prove
that remote learning and engagement is not just for safety or for practical requirements, it can also be a
magical portal to another world!
The Family Matinee & the Oxford Opera Youth Chorus
“The children’s chorus was a delight, and it is a wonderful hallmark of this company that it is committed to introducing local young people to the world of opera.”
Nicola Lisle – OxInABox
For all of its productions at Oxford Playhouse the company has involved children aged 6 to 18 in our main house performances as well as our Family Matinee – a shortened version of our productions specifically created for younger audiences. By reframing a full length opera into an accessible and fun shortened form, Oxford Opera provides a unique opportunity for young people in Oxfordshire to experience opera without barriers.
We are also proud to offer opportunities to young, local performers to take part in creative projects. Our Youth Chorus for our main-house production is made up of around 40 local children, between the ages of 10 and 16. We are overjoyed to be able to offer the life-changing experience of performing with a professional company to so many young people in Oxford.
For further information on our Youth Chorus and opportunities to join it and participate in our Projects – including the Main Stage Production at the Oxford Playhouse Theatre and the Family Matinee please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with YOUTH CHORUS ENQUIRY in the Title Subject.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
KEEPING OPERA ALIVE THROUGH EDUCATION, OUTREACH & PERFORMANCE
Delivering these opportunities to the children and young people of Oxfordshire takes time; dedication; staff-training and serious funding. If you would like to support the on-going work of Oxford Opera Company with a one-off donation or might even consider providing an on-going Educational Core-Funding provision, please don’t hesitate to click on the DONATE button or email either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how best you can help us and secure the vital Educational and Outreach projects that Oxford Opera provide to the County it serves.
Oxford Opera take safeguarding and child protection extremely seriously. All Oxford Opera facilitators have: a valid DBS, a valid Safeguarding qualification, and a valid First Aid qualification. Oxford Opera also have strict Child Protection and Safeguarding Policies in place which can be provided.