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Opera Start in Schools

Recent Projects 

VoiceChoice recent project, Sutton Academy

Young Leaders Project part one

Summer/Autumn 2018 project at Sutton Academy, Sutton-in-Ashfield saw a selection of 12 teenage mentors participating in a series of leadership training workshops which were based on skill-sharing and then developing the personal skills, knowledge and confidence to help deliver as Young Leaders with Brierley Forest Primary and Nursery school.

The delivery in the autumn was very exciting to witness as they grew weekly in confidence and in the realisation of their responsibility as leaders. This was not always easy and our team were sometimes stretched to the limit! However, we arrived with great excitement at the end of November with a unique show and our Young Leaders taking a lot of responsibility in the final delivery. An interesting highlight was that they all presented to the Academy staff and administration, a summary of what and how they had acquired these new skills and the long-term effects they hoped to witness. We are looking forward to developing this project to another level in 2019!





VoiceChoice Start-Up

Lottery Arts Award"VoiceChoice hits the ground running with new funding success."
‘Less than two months after our start-up, VoiceChoice is delighted to announce that we have been successful in winning a substantial Arts Council Grant towards an exciting new project we are running in conjunction with Nottingham Music Hub. Operatic Startup is designed to help kick-start and sustain musical participation in year 7 students at two inner city schools. The project starts on September 16th 2015 and will see our team running a project designed to engage young people in the process of creating and performing their own musical scenes and songs. 



Radford Project 2013


Allison Cook in RehearsalWith funding provided by The Danielle Beccan Memorial Trust via Nottinghamshire Community Foundation and Thomas Edward Trust, VoiceChoice recently collaborated with Radford Primary School to stage an exciting music arts project linking the school with professional singers, musicians and choreographers, which culminated in a performance of an extract from Rossini’s opera, ‘La Cenerentola’.

International mezzo singer Allison Cook played Cinderella at the school, after recently performing at New York City Opera in their critically acclaimed production of "Powder Her Face".  She flew in from Paris to join the children at Radford Primary School, along with a whole host of professional international artists.

The performance combined opera with indian music and dance giving the event a multi-cultural theme, drawing on differing cultural and artistic influences.


Meeta Davé, Head Teacher said "Rarely do the children have such opportunities to work with professionals at this level.  The VoiceChoice team make opera fun and accessible and through every unique project, they have taught children new skills, challenged and stretched them in an interactive way.

The children are truly engaged and focussed. The progress they make in a relatively short amount of time is remarkable. It has a massive impact on their self-esteem and confidence and therefore an on-going benefit to their learning and the wider curriculum".

Opera Start has been running since 1999 and has been hugely successful in engaging young people in a creative learning process.

The Opera Start workshops introduce young people to many aspects of vocal, basic compositional and performance techniques, enabling them to create their own pieces, which they perform in staged operatic excerpts alongside professional singers and musicians.

Based on a model that has been used in different settings over the years, each programme is designed uniquely to best meet the needs of the participants involved.

Opera Start has proved highly effective both educationally and socially. The principal education aims are to help the young people realise their own creativity, develop their voices and perceive the link between what they are able to create themselves and the established masterpieces of opera.

Opera Start Workshops

  • Encourage creativity and learning through music
  • Engage and motivate young people from all backgrounds
  • Use the power of performance to unlock potential
  • Help to increase confidence and self-esteem



"I just want to say I had the best time ever in my whole life. A big thank you".
Sidra Ashiq, Year 5

"Big thank you to all of you and all of you are great at opera singing and at drama! Thank you for spending your free time with us and you made a fantastic performance!  Big thank you also, now that I saw what you do I want to be a professional opera singer too! Thank you!!!"
Katarzyna Kil, Year 5

"I think within school their confidence and team work skills have developed more.  They have realised that they are far braver than they knew and that with some practise and effort they can do things that might seem daunting at first.  I'm so glad that you chose our class to be part of this project!". 
Nicola Waring, Year 5 Class Teacher, Radford Primary School

"VoiceChoice teaching can be seen as modeling process.  The students are apprentices who are gradually inducted into a new community in which they too can become expert". 
Quote from Nottingham Trent University Research Paper

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