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.