During this unprecedented period of lockdown, our producer team have been working creatively with our project partners to explore alternative ways to deliver activity. This work continues to bring new insights into the ways that digital activity can help to connect people who are otherwise isolated.
Destinies explores how music and drama can empower unaccompanied migrant children and looked-after children and is co-produced with Derbyshire's Virtual School.
Since last autumn, a workshop team from Ava Hunt Theatre and Sinfonia Viva has held two mini-residencies with the participants, developing a sense of company and creating music based on their diverse life experiences. The artistic team includes an Arabic-speaking viola player who can connect with the migrant children whose English is not strong.
Whilst the intended performance during the Easter holiday had to be postponed, several online sessions have been held instead and proved effective in maintaining the creative interaction with and between the group members. This has included singing songs devised with the young people, using backing tracks prepared by the orchestra’s music leader and players. It is hoped a live performance will be possible later in the year at Derby Theatre.
“I was thinking in my head I’m not going to be able to do this, and then I did it!”Destinies young participant
"A crucial part of the work has been building up a sense of group, ensemble and connection, where trust and openness are key. We have just had three sessions online via Zoom, reading through a draft script and singing along to backing tracks put together by myself and Viva musicians.
The only way we have managed this challenging technical process, and the biggest challenge of supporting the young people to access the sessions online, has been through the amazing support and teamwork from the Derbyshire Virtual School and their creative mentoring teams. They were able to test out and support the young people one on one in advance of the meeting, helping them with technical advice as well as practising script readings.
This meant that despite our isolation we were able to have three successful sessions where we were able to feel 'together', explore the work we've made thus far, and reflect on it."Raph Clarkson, Destinies music leader
Create Yarmouth, part of our long-term annual orchestral residencies in Great Yarmouth, was launched on 4 March with a London Mozart Players (LMP) concert at St George’s Theatre.
Local people have been directly involved in shaping and producing the project, including young promoters who created colourful banners to dress the stage for the concert, and others who photographed and filmed the orchestra and interviewed key stakeholders for the communications strand. Groups of young people attended part of the afternoon rehearsal, in readiness for their collaboration and large-scale shared performance with the orchestra later in the year.
Music leader Sarah Freestone, is maintaining contact with the young musicians through online activity during the lockdown period.
Another strand of the residency will engage with a wider range of people at community settings, following an initial session last month when two LMP musicians joined two artists from Suffolk Artlink to perform and interact with children, parents and staff on the children’s wards at James Paget Hospital. Further small-scale events will be held when it is safe to do so, with online informal performances happening in the meantime.
"I think the project is very good to practice professional skills, especially in writing, the facilitators really helped me with my confidence. Practical writing is very good for developing my writing skills, which are needed for my dream career. The music during the rehearsal was relaxing and exciting all at once, I would definitely go to more orchestral concerts in the future."Holly, Create Yarmouth Young Promoter
“Everyone was easy to talk to. It felt very natural talking to the musicians. Staff at St George’s were very friendly and helpful, they have a genuine interest in the project. They’ve given us great insight into how events are managed behind the scene, we got a fascinating behind the scenes tour which showed us how things like lighting and sound are.”Emily, Create Yarmouth Young Promoter
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Encountering Wordsworth, an inclusive large-scale music, poetry and multi-media project celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth, was due to culminate at the end of April, featuring with a performance of newly created work by our team of young composers and primary schools, Manchester Camerata and composer Laura Bowler.
With 80% of the project completed, we’ve been able to move swiftly to take the entire project online. We're delighted that the remaining young composer workshops will take place virtually with Laura, sound artist, Dan Fox and Manchester Camerata musicians, working together to finalise the newly created music.
Laura has also recorded films for the primary schools to learn the songs and the entire team will be working together to produce a special film collage of the project to be premiered online in July, which will eventually form part of an installation at Wordsworth Grasmere’s new visitor centre. We hope the full project culmination concert will take place in April 2021, followed by a performance by Cumbria Youth Orchestra in July 2021.