The next stage of an ambitious project to create a brand new performance piece for young people from seven Commonwealth countries begins in Botswana this week.
A team from Scottish Opera’s Education Department, who are leading the project, will carry out a series of drama and music workshops with teachers, pupils, choirs and the No.1 Ladies Opera House to develop ideas for The Friendship Oratorio, which will receive its world premiere performances in July 2014 as part of the cultural celebrations surrounding the Commonwealth Games hosted by the city of Glasgow.
Work began on The Friendship Oratorio at a meeting of members of No1 Ladies Opera House, New Zealand Opera, Cape Town Opera, Calgary Opera, The Telkhela Foundation and Queensland Opera at Scottish Opera’s Production Studios in February 2011.
According to the Scottish Opera Director of Education and Outreach, Jane Davidson, the whole team is really looking forward to continuing this hugely exciting project in Botswana.
“We will be asking people of all ages to share their thoughts and experiences of friendship to help spark ideas for the musical and dramatic structure of The Friendship Oratorio. In 2014, a group of young people from Botswana will be invited to Scotland to join the youth chorus that will perform the final piece alongside professional artists representing all the partner countries.”
Later this year, the team will visit India and Canada. In South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, partner organisations will be running creative consultation sessions that will also feed into the making of the piece over the next two years.
During their time in Botswana, the team will also deliver a series of continuing professional development workshops for teachers. It has demonstrated its successful model for using opera as a tool for learning in schools, linked to Scotland’s A Curriculum for Excellence, which places creativity at the centre of learning and teaching. The aim of the project is to show how opera can be used to enhance a child’s learning across a wide range of subjects and nurture them as responsible citizens, successful learners, effective contributors and confident individuals. The workshops also provide opportunities for artists and teachers to share their skills and to raise the profile of opera as a rich and relevant art form within the community.