Young professional opera group Opera Holloway is running a week of workshops, rehearsals and performances based on Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel in London, 30 July-3 August. The ‘Gingerbread Project’ will see children aged 12-15 working alongside members of the Opera Holloway company in the lead up to two performances on 2 and 3 August.
The venue for the project is Toynbee Studios in East London, a 280-seat venue.
Opera Holloway was formed in 2009 by music students at Royal Holloway University. It registered this year as a charity and the Gingerbread Project is ‘their biggest and most challenging project to date’.
Founding member and workshop leader Callie Swarbrick says of the project: ‘Not only does this give singers at the start of the career the chance to gain the valuable and necessary performance experience and exposure, but it also allows a whole new generation of young people to engage with opera in an interactive environment.’
‘The Gingerbread Project is a great opportunity for any young person who wants to develop as a musician, actor or dancer,’ says Lewis Gaston, musical director, ‘as well as for those who need a boost in confidence. It doesn’t matter if they are new to opera or not. The experience is designed to appeal to absolutely anyone.
‘As a genre, opera integrates music, drama, emotion, movement, teamwork and so much more. It allows young people to develop such a wide range of valuable skills while engaging with what is very often a new style of music for them.’
Opera Holloway has experience of delivering workshops in schools and ideals of learning through experience are at the centre of its work: central to its foundation was the aim of providing ‘a safe vocal environment in which young singers gain valuable experience in the world of opera’.
Charitable status Opera Holloway organisers believe, is a mark of its work in this area: ‘We hope this proves how passionate and effective we are about delivering our goals’.
Organisers have launched a crowdfunding website to raise funds which will go to bursaries for young people to attend the London workshops and enable the production to go to the Edinburgh Fringe festival, where it will be the only opera to run for more than four nights.
If you have a child between the ages of 12 and 15 and would like to book them a place on The Gingerbread Project, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07773601615. The workshops run from Tuesday 30 July-Thursday 1 August, 10am-4pm. Performances are on 2nd-3rd August at 7pm. Places are £115 per child and bursary places are available. See also www.operaholloway.co.uk