Norfolk Schools Project in Action

One of the many positive elements of working with the Theatre Royal as their photographic sponsor is that I get to witness first hand what a terrific impact their Schools Project has on the Children that take part in it.

Being present at the schools for the first time the project starts is a real highlight. I watch as the children sit with baited breath, nervous, excited and shy… Lindsey the professional opera singer starts by singing a piece. A raft of giggles and shock comes across the childrens faces as they take in the scene. For most of them, it would have been the first time that they would have heard opera.

The shyness continues, but within an hour, the children are up, acting out scenes, singing and dancing. The transformation is incredible.

All this within a couple of hours of the first session.

Images to follow………

About the Project:

In Norfolk, as elsewhere, music provision in schools has been cut quite drastically over the past few years. Music is often taught by staff with very few or no music skills at all, particularly in Primary Schools where class teachers are expected to deliver the whole range of subjects across the Curriculum. The problem in Norfolk is exacerbated by the rural location of many schools, increasing the difficulty of access to the arts, and adding more barriers to participation and engagement with all art forms. Independent evaluation with teachers has shown that there is an overwhelming demand for high quality music and arts provision to tackle this problem.

We meet this need by offering teachers workshops run by professional musicians/ workshop leaders, linked directly to music at Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum in terms of listening, composing and appraising. Each workshop is linked to the repertoire at Norwich Theatre Royal. Three schools then go on to receive a residency in school, allowing the children access to professional musicians/workshop leaders and the opportunity to create a musical piece which they will perform at Norwich Theatre Royal. To encourage them to return to the theatre after completing the project, each child and teacher is given 6 free tickets to see any performance at the theatre.

About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit
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