In 2019, 266 pupils aged 5–11 took part in an in-school workshop with Hazel Gould (director), John Barber (music director and composer), Charmian Bedford (soprano) and Victoria Simmonds (mezzo soprano). They studied the musical and dramatic themes of Fantasio, learned some of the repertoire, and composed their own lyrics and songs. They also had the opportunity to listen to and perform with a professional opera singer. The project culminated in The Big Sing, a mini opera production combining all the material for audiences of parents, teachers and other school children.
292 secondary school pupils took part in intensive one and two-day projects, finishing with a mini-opera performance to parents, teachers and other pupils.
The exciting multidisciplinary residency at Cressex Community School explored singing, acting, composition and dance. The Director and Music Director team of Karen Gillingham and Omar Shahryar worked with students, performing and developing material from Fantasio, while choreographer Natasha Khamjani worked with an enthusiastic dance group to bring the opera’s music and themes to life through movement.
The Misbourne School worked with a dedicated group of instrumentalists led by Jason Rowland. The project was led by director Freya Wynn-Jones and composer Michael Betteridge. Students undertook warm up games and drama exercises before exploring the musical and dramatic themes of Fantasio. They then split into separate vocal and instrumental groups to develop their own ideas of singing, composition, acting and instrumental work in response to the themes.