Opera keeps kids in the loop

PUBLISHED: 13:56 08 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:41 15 June 2010

STARTING from a blank page, young people at Mill Water School in Honiton have written and performed their own opera. The children even formed their own opera company, In The Loop, to stage Sports Utopia.

STARTING from a blank page, young people at Mill Water School in Honiton have written and performed their own opera.The children even formed their own opera company, In The Loop, to stage Sports Utopia.Inspired by the education department at the Royal Opera House, the project has been described as "one of the hardest and most wonderful things" ever undertaken at the school.Music teacher Sue King recognised the potential a year ago, quickly securing external funding for the project.She received intensive training, ahead of her work with school pupils, over the period of a week last summer.Children, who are in Key Stages 2 to 4, have been working on the project since January.Performed at the school last week, Sports Utopia was not an opera in the classical sense."It doesn't have any large busted woman singing in a high pitched voice, or any huge orchestras," said Mrs King."Apart from that, it is probably as fantastic as a piece of theatre, with music that you would see anywhere."It has the dramas, the songs, the scenery, lights, costumes, music and special effects that any opera in London would have - and all of it has been written, planned, designed and made to work by the children."It is their acting, singing, scenery, lights, costume and music that people saw and heard. "Their ideas and their hard work."Mrs King said the opera was a 'first' for Mill Water."It started from completely nothing," she told the Herald. "A blank page, not a single musical note - not a story or character or idea. "Everything came from that place to the place we are at now."A DVD film of the whole process was available to buy when parents and friends watched performances of the opera.Teachers and pupils alike agree the opera provided the whole school with a learning journey - a truly remarkable experience.

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