Our educational work has increased substantially in 2015 as we are consciously investing more time and money to improve our reach and activity. We have worked with approximately 180 students (aged 10 - 18) this year. We have been lucky enough to have Jessica May co-ordinating this work and representing Longborough Festival Opera to schools in Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. We are building relationships with local schools, seeking their input on how we can improve our offering and we are developing tools and materials to help bring alive the workshops.
This year we have had the challenge of creating a workshop around Rigoletto - bullying, deceitfulness, seduction and assassination encased in some of the most famous arias in the genre. It has been a memorable workshop to say the very least with some spectacular performances and interpretations from the students, who revelled not only in great tunes and stories, but were able to dress up in some of the old costumes from previous years at Longborough.
Alongside the school workshops, we have opened up rehearsals to all of the participants, to complete the picture and allow them to fully experience how everything fits together - the orchestra, the singers, the stage, the theatre, the crew. Caroline Clegg, director of our 2015 production of Rigoletto, is passionate about education and has also spent time with the students to share her perspective. Maria Jagusz and Jessica May lead the workshops with schools, working alongside a handful of singers to bring the music to life.