Autumn 2013 Norfolk Schools Project.. Hansel and Gretel project

This week I’ve been at a couple of schools in the depths of Norfolk photographing the early stages of the latest Schools Project, where the music and drama professionals embrace the ideas for an Opera based on Hansel & Gretal that the children will be performing in November.

It’s great turning up to these schools and spending a few hours watching their progress and shooting images of them. I always find it interesting to see how some children play up to the camera, very aware of what I am doing, while others continue and ignore what I’m doing. One of the best methods I use is to stick my 200 f2.8 lens on and sit behind the piano or something else and observe the scene as it unfolds in front of me, capturing the real essence of their progress in this amazing project.

A little bit about the project……….

Norfolk Schools Project

The Norfolk Schools Project is a free, opera-based arts project that Norwich Theatre Royal delivers biannually to selected Key Stage 2 schools. We work with the older range of Key Stage 2 (Years 6 and 5 primarily but also Year 4 when in conjunction with an older year group) and do not discriminate against perceived geographical or socio-economic barriers.

For our Norfolk Schools Project Autumn 2013 we will be working with three Primary Schools in the outskirts of Norwich and using Hansel und Gretel as our inspirational starting point. The schools will work independently on their own projects and come together for a performance on stage at Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday 10th November 2013.

A Free Teacher’s Workshop based on skills in listening, composing and appraising will also be held at a Norwich-based school, prior to the project commencing. Last year 100% of teachers found the session useful to their on-going work at school. They felt the workshop leaders were inspirational, engaging and it was a great opportunity to refresh their creative teaching methods by participating.

How to Apply

Although there are few barriers to participating, your school must have at a minimum:

  • A tuned, available piano or full-size organ.
  • A rehearsal space big enough to accommodate the class during rehearsals and an in-school performance.
  • A minimum class size of about 20. Smaller schools where different year groups are taught together can also apply (where the individual year groups are smaller than 20). So Year 5 and 6 together will be fine but not year 3 and 4.
  • A class teacher who is committed to actively participating with their class in the project.
  • A Head Teacher who is committed to the project by allowing the participating class to be flexible to their approach to their curriculum/ timetable for the duration of the project.

If you are keen for your school to participate in a future Norfolk Schools Project please write in the first instance to the Education Department stating your interest: or call 01603 598528

Support Us

Following our Autumn 2013 Hansel und Gretel project, we plan to continue to run our Norfolk Schools Projects biannually in order to reach more teachers and pupils throughout Norfolk.

We have already scheduled a project for Spring 2014 ~ The Magic Flute, and will continue to apply to trusts and funding organisations to meet this commitment.

If you would like to support this unique project please contact the Fundraising Department to discuss the project in more detail and a breakdown of the financial cost. Norwich Theatre Royal is a registered charity – click here for more details of our fundraising campaigns.

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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