Scottish Opera celebrates 50 years of pioneering Outreach and Education work

To celebrate the 50th anniversary year of its Outreach and Education programme, Scottish Opera announces new projects to connect with communities across Scotland!

Scottish Opera celebrates 50 years of pioneering Outreach and Education work

Article Source: Scottish Opera
First Published: 26 April 2021 11:16
Updated: 26 April 2021 11:16

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its ground-breaking Outreach and Education programme department, Scottish Opera has announced further projects to bring music and performance into the lives of people across the country. From digital initiatives for primary schools and a new production from the Scottish Opera Young Company to breathing exercises for people recovering from the effects of Covid-19, the projects build on Scottish Opera’s pioneering work over the past five decades and its ongoing engagement with communities throughout the pandemic and beyond.

The first of its kind and oldest outreach and education unit of any opera company in Europe, the department was formed in 1971 under the leadership of Scottish Opera’s founder Sir Alexander Gibson. Its ethos is to break down barriers to the artform, connect communities and inspire people from all backgrounds through opera. A trailblazer in community arts engagement across Scotland and internationally, it has played a seminal role in the educational experiences of generations of Scottish people and has developed into a year-round programme of youth and community projects. From its renowned Primary Schools Tour – which has engaged over half a million children in the arts across all 32 Scottish local authority areas, working with 9,000 pupils from over 130 schools every year – to its innovative operas for infants and ground-breaking work with people living with dementia, it creates meaningful and transformative experiences for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

In the department’s 50th year, as the world continues to navigate the unprecedented and critical impact of the pandemic, it will for the first time offer a package of projects for Primary 1 to 7 simultaneously, giving schools the opportunity to engage all pupils in a Scottish Opera primary schools project at the same time. A cross-curricular and interdisciplinary digital project for Primary 1 to 3, The Brassketeers introduces children to brass instruments whilst also supporting delivery of the Early and First Level numeracy curriculum. Resources include an animated short film performed by members of The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, alongside lesson plans, slide shows, worksheets and games which explore the relationship between music and maths. Aimed at Primary 3 to 4 pupils, digital storybook project Tiny Chef introduces Mandarin language skills alongside concepts of food preparation and healthy eating. Created in collaboration with the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools, over several weeks the Company worked with children to develop musical, artistic and narrative ideas which were developed by a composer, librettist and illustrator into the digital storybook, which is now available online. For older children, digital performance project The Last Aliens invites Primary 5 to 7 pupils on an intergalactic adventure to save Planet Earth and engage with the topic of climate change as Scotland prepares to host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) later this year. With an opera of five songs for pupils to learn, teachers will be given a set of lesson plans, audio guides and demonstration films to explore the main topics, and teach music and movement, along with ideas for making props and costumes. There are also plans for digital collaborations with schools internationally and The Last Aliens live tour in the Autumn, should visiting groups to schools be allowed under Scottish Government Covid-19 guidelines. Digital resources for the projects are available on the Scottish Opera website and are free to all until January 2022.

Continuing its engagement with primary schools and in its role as the first Scottish partner of Disney Musicals in Schools, Scottish Opera will resume its work with five primary schools, each of whom will produce its own Disney KIDS musical over the next two years. Workshops will take place online from 10 May. The Company will also contribute to the Scottish Book Trust’s pilot scheme for schools, Arts Alive, with a project called Song Squad mentoring primary school aged singers and songwriters to create, perform and record a set of their own songs to reflect on issues that are important to them, their school and their community.

Meanwhile, Scottish Opera’s work with older pupils in secondary schools includes the creation of resources relating to a sequence of filmed scenes in three contrasting stagings, directed by Roxana Haines, of Donizetti’s L'elisir d'amore as part of the Scottish Opera: On Screen collection. Available to schools in Spring 2022, the resources will encourage critical analysis from secondary school pupils studying Music, Art & Design and Theatre Studies.

Outside the digital classroom, Scottish Opera remains dedicated to supporting emerging talent in Scotland and providing aspiring singers and stage managers with a unique and practical introduction to the world of opera through its Scottish Opera Young Company (SOYC). In this 50th anniversary year, the latest cohort of the youth talent training and performance programme will perform a new production by Roxana Haines of Kurt Weill’s The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken, marking the first time the Young Company has been back on stage since April 2019. Rehearsals are underway via Zoom and will culminate in outdoor performances in the car park of the Company’s Edington Street Production Studios in Glasgow on 31 July and 1 August. The Young Company will also give the world premiere in 2022 of Rubble, a new work by composer Gareth Williams and Scottish theatre legend Johnny McKnight, commissioned for the department’s milestone anniversary.

A leading advocate of the contribution arts can make to health and wellbeing, Scottish Opera staged the UK’s first ever dementia friendly opera performance in 2016 and continues to work closely with people living with dementia. Its community-based music and dementia project Memory Spinners hopes to reinstate its weekly group meetings in Glasgow in Spring 2022 and dementia friendly performances will also return, when Scottish Government guidelines allow, to run alongside full-length performances in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, presenting fully-staged shortened versions of productions specially created to provide a more relaxed opera experience. As an interim support for people suffering the effects of Covid-19, the Company has also repurposed its Breath Cycle project – originally created in partnership with Gartnavel General Hospital respiratory ward and patients with Cystic Fibrosis – to offer free singing tutorials designed to assist with breath control. Materials and further information can be found here. In a further advancement of Breath Cycle, a team of artists has now begun developmental work on a new project which will culminate in the creation of a song collection for and by people affected by Covid-19. Combining singing and breath control techniques, song writing workshops for members of the public will take place in the Autumn culminating in a presentation of the project in Summer 2022.

The impact of music and creative expression on health and wellbeing will continue to be explored by the Company in a new community exhibition project with The Abbotsford Trust, Live Borders! & East Lothian Council Arts. As part of the Sir Walter Scott 250 celebrations in 2021-22 and inspired by the title character in Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lammermoor, itself based on Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoor, Sweet Sounds in Wild Places will explore loneliness, isolation and lack of empowerment, as well as the impact, for good or bad, that landscape and environment can have on mental health and wellbeing. The project will run from Autumn 2021.

All of these initiatives build on the work Scottish Opera has done over the past year to continue connecting with communities, adapting its projects for the digital world and offering positive musical experiences and support for those suffering from the impact of the pandemic. Updated and modified for online participation in response to lockdown, Fever!, a much-loved former Primary Schools Tour production, explores topical themes of virology and microbiology. It became Scottish Opera’s first online opera for children, initially made available to Scottish schools, with accompanying teaching resources, before attracting international participants from more than 60 different countries and later culminating in a nationwide virtual performance. For toddlers, the company’s popular Fox-tot! which uses a mix of music and puppetry was also reproduced for online during lockdown, offering a collection of games, music, choreography and simple sign language lessons. From early years through to projects for adults, the Company provides life-long learning for all ages and its Community Choir has continued to meet online via Zoom throughout the pandemic, giving people of all ages the chance to come together every week to perform a mix of opera, classical, popular, folk and world music.

Scottish Opera continues to reach communities right across Scotland with its renowned Pop-up Opera roadshow which travels across the country to bring opera to local communities in a specially adapted trailer. Its critically acclaimed Summer 2020 tour marked an important milestone for the Company as it became Scotland’s first national performing arts company to stage performances for a live audience following the first lockdown. For its 2021 tour it will condense five Gilbert & Sullivan shows – The Pirates of Penzance, The Gondoliers, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore and Iolanthe – into re-written 25 minute performances, with plans in place for the roadshow to begin by 8 June subject to Scottish Government guidelines, to audiences of over 12,000. The final leg of the tour, running throughout September, will offer a double bill of shows including the Pirates of Penzance and a revival of A Little Bit of Bubble McBea. Aimed at children in Primary 1 to 3, Bubble McBea deals with environmental issues in the coasts around Scotland, and will raise awareness of sea pollution in the run up to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

The Company hopes to build on the digital developments it has made during the pandemic and the potential this offers to engage with more schools and communities. It has become a Challenge Holder in the Creative Informatics Challenge (CIC), run by the University of Edinburgh which aims to develop a new and interactive approach for evaluating the Company’s work in primary schools. Further details will be announced in the coming months.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson, who has worked with the department since 1984, said: “Since 1971, Scottish Opera has remained committed to its mission of engaging and enriching the lives of people from all corners of Scotland through opera. In these uncertain and difficult times, never has this commitment been so crucial and the need for positive and supportive musical experiences been as vital. We are incredibly proud and excited to be at the start of the journey to bring live music back to the Scottish audiences of all ages. While the opportunities for digital interaction with our work continues to evolve and develop, it’s the combination of passion and sheer joy for sharing stories through music that will continue to drive us for the next 50 years.”

For information about Scottish Opera’s Outreach and Education programme visit www.scottishopera.org.uk. Further announcements including the return of in person workshops will be made in the coming months.

Image Credit: Glasgow Herald

Latest Stirling News

Mackies of Scotland and National Trust for Scotland announce partnership to get families exploring this summer

Mackies of Scotland and National Trust for Scotland announce partnership to get families exploring this summer

Families are invited to reconnect with the National Trust for Scotland properties they love, uncover clues as they explore and receive a delicious Mackie’s chocolate treat for their efforts.

First Published: 11th June 2021
People across Scotland urged to take things at their own pace as restrictions ease

People across Scotland urged to take things at their own pace as restrictions ease

Scots are being encouraged to take things at their own pace as restrictions ease, as research reveals almost half of adults who have met up with others have found it more overwhelming than expected.

First Published: 11th June 2021
Free Jewellery Workshops promote pandemic wellbeing

Free Jewellery Workshops promote pandemic wellbeing

As Covid-19 restrictions ease across Forth Valley, four local makers have joined forces with Made in Stirling to offer free jewellery making workshops for people living in Stirlingshire.

First Published: 9th June 2021
A journey from lockdown back to live theatre 2021 to 2022

A journey from lockdown back to live theatre 2021 to 2022

Join the National Theatre of Scotland on a journey back to live theatre as it celebrates a programme of new tours, returning productions, a World Premiere and its ongoing digital programme.

First Published: 10th June 2021
Salvage Hunters want your location recommendations for their upcoming episode set to be filmed in Scotland

Salvage Hunters want your location recommendations for their upcoming episode set to be filmed in Scotland

Salvage Hunters, the well-loved and most watched Discovery Network show is on the hunt for locations to feature in their special Scotland episode.

First Published: 10th June 2021
Dobbies announces virtual events to elevate your garden this summer

Dobbies announces virtual events to elevate your garden this summer

Dobbies, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, has announced two virtual Expert Events to help gardeners elevate their green spaces this summer, no matter the size or style of their garden.

First Published: 9th June 2021
Bannockburn and Eastern Villages get creative

Bannockburn and Eastern Villages get creative

Bannockburn and the Eastern villages are set for a summer of creativity, following a successful spring arts pilot last month.

First Published: 9th June 2021
itison give the chance to win a VIP Olympic experience with Sir Chris Hoy to raise funds for Social Bite

itison give the chance to win a VIP Olympic experience with Sir Chris Hoy to raise funds for Social Bite

Win a VIP Olympic experience with Sir Chris Hoy or 90s throwback fitness class with Mr Motivator courtesy of itison... and help raise funds for Social Bite to break the cycle of homelessness.

First Published: 4th June 2021
New campaign celebrates independent businesses in Stirling

New campaign celebrates independent businesses in Stirling

A campaign which celebrates Stirling’s independent shops and retailers has been launched by the city’s BID.

First Published: 3rd June 2021
Charity thanks volunteers for the massive difference they make

Charity thanks volunteers for the massive difference they make

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, is getting ready to celebrate Volunteers’ Week (1st – 7th June) by thanking their volunteers for the huge difference that they make to people’s lives.

First Published: 2nd June 2021
Stirling Construction Firm scoops top industry award

Stirling Construction Firm scoops top industry award

A family construction firm has won a top industry award for “outstanding” work on a Bridge of Allan kitchen renovation.

First Published: 2nd June 2021
Scottish Opera returns to live performance with over 200 pop up opera shows this Summer

Scottish Opera returns to live performance with over 200 pop up opera shows this Summer

Scottish Opera returns to live outdoor performance for the first time in nine months, with its popular Pop-up Opera Roadshow, starting Thursday 10th June!

First Published: 1st June 2021
Ayr company scoops best ice cream in UK award!

Ayr company scoops best ice cream in UK award!

Mancini's of Ayr has been voted the best ice cream manufacturer in the UK at the National Ice Cream Championships 2021 run by the Ice Cream Alliance, the sector's UK trade association.

First Published: 1st June 2021
Stirling Launches New Volunteer Portal

Stirling Launches New Volunteer Portal

Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise is making it easier to volunteer, or find volunteers, with the launch of the region’s first digital platform dedicated to local volunteering opportunities.

First Published: 1st June 2021
Scottish Celebrity Chef backs charity Tartan Tea Party to celebrate Thank You Day

Scottish Celebrity Chef backs charity Tartan Tea Party to celebrate Thank You Day

Michelin Star Chef Tom Kitchin is backing Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Tartan Tea Party to celebrate the nationwide 'Thank You Day' on Sunday 4th July.

First Published: 1st June 2021
Dobbies celebrates National Childrens Gardening Week with refreshed Little Seedlings and Ambassador launch

Dobbies celebrates National Childrens Gardening Week with refreshed Little Seedlings and Ambassador launch

Dobbies, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, has announced the online relaunch of its much-loved Little Seedlings Club, to support and celebrate National Children’s Gardening Week.

First Published: 28th May 2021
National Theatre of Scotland Creatively Engaging in 2021

National Theatre of Scotland Creatively Engaging in 2021

National Theatre of Scotland announces a series of new digital creative engagement projects which explore themes of care and empathy.

First Published: 27th May 2021
Win Free Fish and Chips For a Year

Win Free Fish and Chips For a Year

To celebrate National Fish & Chip Day, customers who dine at The Real Food Café in Tyndrum from 4th June to 4th July will be entered into a draw to win free fish and chips for a year.

First Published: 26th May 2021
Biscuit fans can book a stay in a CARAVAN Wafer this summer

Biscuit fans can book a stay in a CARAVAN Wafer this summer

Biscuit giant, Tunnock's, has teamed up with Argyll Holidays, Scotland's marketing leading holiday park operator in Argyll, to design and create the first ever official Tunnock's Caravan Wafer!

First Published: 26th May 2021
Jack and Victor raise a glass as whisky goes live

Jack and Victor raise a glass as whisky goes live

After months of speculation, two of Scotland's most famous old boys, Jack Jarvis Esq. and Victor McDade prove they're still here in spirit as their very own limited-edition dram goes on sale!

First Published: 25th May 2021
Get them growing and inspire the next generation of gardeners

Get them growing and inspire the next generation of gardeners

Dobbies celebrates National Children’s Gardening Week 29th May - 6th June 2021. It’s the perfect time to nurture children and grandchildren’s interest in the great outdoors.

First Published: 24th May 2021
Finding solutions to food insecurity in Forth Valley

Finding solutions to food insecurity in Forth Valley

Local charity Forth Environment Link (FEL) is set to launch a study seeking sustainable and dignified solutions to food insecurity in Forth Valley.

First Published: 24th May 2021
Aldi launches a lorry design competition for children across Scotland with Team GB

Aldi launches a lorry design competition for children across Scotland with Team GB

With just over two months until the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Aldi is running a nationwide competition with Team GB, calling on budding child artists to submit a design for its latest lorry.

First Published: 20th May 2021
Aldi champions local distillers as part of Scottish Spirits Festival

Aldi champions local distillers as part of Scottish Spirits Festival

Aldi reveals the line-up for its in-store Scottish Spirits Festival, featuring a host of quality craft beverages from across Scotland that are perfect to add to your drink’s cabinet this summer.

First Published: 19th May 2021
Dobbies celebrates World Bee Day this May with expert advice to make your garden a bee friendly haven

Dobbies celebrates World Bee Day this May with expert advice to make your garden a bee friendly haven

Following the recent launch of their #sustainabledobbies campaign, the experts at Dobbies Garden Centres have shared their top tips to help make your garden a bee-friendly haven.

First Published: 18th May 2021
Green fingered plan for Childrens Gardening Week

Green fingered plan for Childrens Gardening Week

To celebrate Children’s Gardening Week (29 May - 6 June) Bannockburn House is giving away over 75 mini growing kits to local childminders and nurseries.

First Published: 17th May 2021
Islay festival returns with at home experiences live from Lagavulin and Caol Ila

Islay festival returns with at home experiences live from Lagavulin and Caol Ila

Islay's famous festival of music and whisky, Fèis Ìle is back with all events being held digitally, bringing those at home up close to some of the best of what Islay has to offer!

First Published: 17th May 2021
Second round of grants for Artists and Creatives

Second round of grants for Artists and Creatives

Stirling’s Place Partnership project, Scene Stirling, has announced a second round of grants for local artists and creatives, totaling £25,000.

First Published: 13th May 2021
Innovative sustainable clothing firm provides ethical fashion fix

Innovative sustainable clothing firm provides ethical fashion fix

Innovative Scottish sustainable clothing business Sioda is set to transform the way women shop by providing an ethical way to get a fashion fix.

First Published: 12th May 2021
Seven more summer dates announced for exclusive outdoor glamping festival Capers in Cannich

Seven more summer dates announced for exclusive outdoor glamping festival Capers in Cannich

Capers in Cannich – Scotland's first festival created specifically in response to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines – has announced it will run for eight weekends in total across the summer.

First Published: 12th May 2021

Sponsored Links

Popular Events

Taylor’s Of Edinburgh Present: Falkirk Mega Value Carnival
Taylor's Of Edinburgh present Falkirk Mega Value Carnival from Friday 11th June until Saturday 3rd July 2021 at Falkirk Stadium Car Park!
Falkirk Stadium Car Boot Sale
Come and visit Falkirk Stadium Car Boot Sale, the biggest and best car boot sale in the region, every Sunday... all welcome!
Stirling Car Boot
From food to sweets and treasures to junk, Stirling Car Boot is open every Sunday regardless of the weather!
Stirling Farmers Market
Stirling Farmers’ Market will be back on Port Street to help you keep that resolution to eat better in 2021!
Scottish Opera Pop-up Opera Tour - A Little Bit of Iolanthe, The Mikado and The Gondoliers
Pop-up Opera is back on the road for Summer 2021 with a bumper tour featuring Gilbert & Sullivans' best-loved hits! Don't miss it at the Albert Halls, Stirling on 20th & 21st July!

Popular Venues

Macrobert Arts Centre Stirling Castle The Albert Halls Stirling The National Wallace Monument Tolbooth Stirling