Skills for life

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000

Supported by: Risk Services NW Limited


The European Opera Centre trains specialist animateurs – skilled in music, art and design, drama/story-telling and theatre production to deliver a project over half a term in primary schools. The target group is Year 5 (typically 10 years old).

The Centre works with teachers to deliver this project which utilises the award-winning hour-long animated film the Centre instigated with BBC Television. Teachers use the film – which is studied scene by scene in class - to deliver the National Curriculum. Lessons devised range from budgeting and scheduling an opera production to comprehension of the story. The animateurs then guide the Year 5 pupils in the creation of their own opera based on what they have seen and heard. The children write the story, the music, undertake all aspects of production (including marketing, risk assessment and programme design and printing) and rehearse the performance which typically they perform for the rest of the school and for parents.

In the three pilots completed to date, teachers have found the whole project extremely valuable in identifying new skills in those taking part. Because children lead the project under expert guidance, they are committed to its delivery and learn how to manage quite a complex staged production. Teachers say that the project changes some children, having a lasting value in their educational attainment. The social scientist who followed the first project to assess it, described the benefits as including the development of self-confidence, empathy and teamwork. Children with special educational needs can play a full part in the project and often change as a result of participation. These were among the conclusions presented recently by the Centre to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons

Given the intensity and scale of the project, its delivery is not cheap. There is now demand which cannot be met from existing resources. Although schools make a contribution, they cannot meet the full cost. The funding sought through the Aviva Community Fund would allow delivery to four new groups of children

European Opera Centre

Moment of Pride

The European Opera Centre – a charity since 1996 – has trained some of Europe’s finest young opera singers from more than 40 countries. It instigated an award-winning animated opera film with BBC Television and has performed in some 20 countries around the world.

Now it is giving Liverpool childr

Location: Liverpool