Making Opera With Young People

Every two weeks, director Elen and musical director James lead a session in Cranmer Primary School. We chatted to Elen about what they’ve been working on.

Baseless Fabric Theatre workshop with primary school group – Wimbledon Foundation

Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to at Cranmer.

Since January, James (the musical director) and myself have been working with year 5 and 6 students from Cranmer Primary School. We’ve been devising scenes. We’ve written and composed music. We’ve used improvisation techniques to adapt the characters from Die Fledermaus.

It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience, not just because we’ve facilitated these young people in creating their own performance, but we’ve also witnessed their confidence grow and creative ideas flourish.

Students from Cranmer Improvising a Scene from Die Fledermaus

What can an audience expect at the end of the process? How is it connected to Strauss’ opera Die Fledermaus? 

We have been particularly keen to focus on many of the themes of the original Die Fledermaus. We’ve been looking in greater depth at the piece through improvisation, scripting and music writing, and thinking about the ways in which we can creatively present aspects of the production to an audience.

Many modern references from Die Fledermaus have arisen from our sessions and as such have helped to inform the overall production. After we’ve scripted it in greater depth, we hope that the audience will experience a high energy and relevant performance drawing on the ideas of the young people.

What have the students learned and what have you learned from them?

Ha! I think that we have learnt a fair bit from these young people and they have most certainly influenced the final production!

From us, they have learnt key skills in performing in front of an audience, creative ways of presenting character and scene, and understanding the importance of working together as a theatre company to achieve success.

Aside from learning to ‘floss’, I think that we have learnt that the most vital part of working with young people in creating performance is listening to and drawing upon their ideas and suggestions. That has certainly added spark to the overall performance.

Elen leading a script-readthrough for Die Fledermaus

What has been your favourite moment so far?

Oh, there are plenty! I have really enjoyed creating our own song together through writing lyrics, and the enjoyment the students had in seeing their song come to life through music.

Alongside this I have enjoyed watching all of the young people build in confidence and building a performance together. It’s great to see it beginning to fall into place and I can’t wait for the rehearsal week.

Elen and James will continue working with the students from Cranmer Primary until July, when they’ll spend an intensive week working on the production, before performing it in August.

Share this Story
  • Blog

    Making Opera With Young People

    Every two weeks, director Elen and musical director James lead a session in Cranmer Primary School. We chatted to Elen about ...
  • Blog

    And the word was FUN!

    We asked Elliott, our workshop leader for the St John Bosco College Parallel Production to give us an idea of what ...
  • Blog

    Our School Parallel Production Workshop Leaders!

    We are super excited to introduce our talented music and drama workshop leaders who will be working with the young people’s ...
  • Blog

    Our school parallel productions of Die Fledermaus

    We are thrilled to announce a new and exciting aspect of the Die Fledermaus project! As well as our professional cast ...
Load More Related Articles
  • Blog

    Why Audiences Love Street Opera

    Our favourite thing about our street opera performances is seeing how audiences respond. We love that the unique Baseless Fabric style ...
  • Blog

    What is Grimeborn?

    Grimeborn is the annual opera festival at one of London’s coolest theatres, The Arcola. Over the last ten years, the festival ...
  • Blog

    Making Opera With Young People

    Every two weeks, director Elen and musical director James lead a session in Cranmer Primary School. We chatted to Elen about ...
  • Blog

    A New Face at Baseless Fabric

    Hi! My name is Leo, and I’m delighted to have been chosen to join the Baseless Fabric team. I’ve been working ...
  • Blog

    Lunchtime Opera: Different Perspectives

    Recently we took our Die Fledermaus adaptation into local community centres so that elderly lunch club groups can hear a professional ...
Load More By Leo Mercer
  • Blog

    Love musicals? Hate opera? Think again!

    We asked Francis, originally a musicals fan, to tell us why we converted him to opera. I am a musical theatre ...
  • Blog

    #TeamDieFledermaus

    So that you can get to know #TeamDieFledermaus we thought we’d ask our brilliant singers a few questions about their characters: ...
  • Blog

    Why Audiences Love Street Opera

    Our favourite thing about our street opera performances is seeing how audiences respond. We love that the unique Baseless Fabric style ...
  • Blog

    Talking opera at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships

    This week our Artistic Director Joanna Turner & General Manager Leo Mercer headed to the Wimbledon Championships and Jo chatted to ...
  • Blog

    Help us bring opera to Merton & Wandsworth

    We are looking for reliable, enthusiastic volunteers with an interest in theatre, music and community projects to help us create our ...
  • Blog

    What is Grimeborn?

    Grimeborn is the annual opera festival at one of London’s coolest theatres, The Arcola. Over the last ten years, the festival ...
Load More In Blog

Check Also

Why Audiences Love Street Opera

Our favourite thing about our street opera performances ...

CURRENT PRODUCTION

Join our Newsletter

We won't spam you with emails. Maximum one a month but usually one every three months.

Reviews

  • Experiences like A Secret Life are going to be the future of theatre. London City Nights

Follow us on Twitter