One of the world’s leading opera companies is inspiring secondary school pupils with an engaging year-long programme.
English National Opera (ENO) launched Opera Squad at St Paul’s Academy in Abbey Wood on Thursday 5th October, with a takeover day. This included pop up performances across the school, music and drama workshops with GCSE students, an interactive assembly with the whole of year 7 and an open rehearsal with pupils in the school choir and instrumental ensemble.
All year groups at the school will be involved in a range of activities over the rest of the academic year. These will include watching ENO productions at the London Coliseum, meeting staff and artists through backstage and rehearsal visits and taking part in further workshops led by artists in the school. The interactive programme aims to enhance pupils’ understanding of opera and challenge their preconceptions, as well as inspiring young people to consider possible future career paths through priority work experience.
The Opera Squad programme links in with Royal Greenwich’s bid to be London’s Borough of Culture in 2019 or 2020.
Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries and Community Well-Being, said: “The Opera Squad is a golden opportunity for pupils at St Paul’s Academy to broaden their cultural horizons and nurture their skills, regardless of their starting point. Inclusivity is at the centre of our bid to become London Borough of Culture so I’m delighted that this programme is open to all pupils.”
Natasha Freedman, Head of ENO Baylis at English National Opera, said: “We are delighted to be working with St Paul’s Academy on this year-long programme. We look forward to supporting students to develop their creativity, and working with staff to engage creatively with opera as a stimulus for learning across the curriculum.”
Lorna Donlon, music subject lead at St Paul’s Academy, said: “St. Paul’s Academy is delighted to begin a year-long partnership with the English National Opera.
“This unique opportunity will enable our students to broaden their cultural horizons, stimulate their imaginations and experience first hand the art form that comes closest to expressing pure emotion.”
Residents can share their views on Royal Greenwich’s London Borough of Culture bid by tweeting @Royal_Greenwich using #mylocalculture and #GreenwichMeans