I recently heard from Dominic Haddock – at London's unfailingly innovative, Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose – that they have just received the largest grant in the company's history, to bring Ulla's Odyssey (composed by Anthony Young, my creative partner and friend) to children across the UK. From their most recent newsletter:
"This month we've been working on our Arts Council funded creative learning programme building workshops that will tour with Ulla's Odyssey and introduce 7 to 11 year old children to opera. The cast has been working with theatre in education company, Big Wheel, to design and deliver these workshops which we will take around the country in the Autumn and Spring 2017, engaging almost 4000 children."
I just now discovered this blog entry from our imaginative and gifted director, Valentina Ceschi, about the training the cast and crew have been doing to be able to roll out this educational programme. It's a fascinating peek into Big Wheel's approach to engaging children with the performing arts in a way that empowers them and harnesses their own imaginations. The idea that thousands of young people (especially those outside of London) will have a chance to discover the joy of opera and live performance through this show, is quite thrilling to me. And on reading Valentina's words, I feel a rush of affection for all my collaborators on this adventure... and great gratitude for the Canada Council travel grant that allowed me to join Anthony and Valentina and the cast and crew last fall, in a tiny magical rehearsal space under a railway bridge in Brixton. From now on, Archway 468 will always be my Platform 9 3/4.