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Project information

Peace At Last, an opera for 3-5-year-olds

OperaUpClose are working with Gallions Primary School to create an opera with and for 3-5-year-olds based on Jill Murphy’s book, Peace At Last. The opera will premiere at Gallions and at schools in surrounding boroughs (Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets) before a UK tour of schools and theatres.

18 months. *Please note that this budget comprises part of the total project budget, and includes educational and physical production costs for our tour*

Charity information: OperaUpClose

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  • Need


    Our primary goal is to provide high-quality music for all, regardless of social and economic circumstances. Music plays a vital role in the development of young children. However, music-making for children aged 0-5 is not funded by the government’s National Plan for Music Education. Children in this age group are often exposed to music through paid-for activities, and so there is a socio-economic divide between those whose households can afford these activities and those whose cannot.


    OperaUpClose and Gallions are passionate about making high-quality music-making accessible to all children. Peace At Last will be a high-quality opera developed according to the needs and tastes of its audience – 3-5-year-olds. The opera’s tour will include visits to schools in less advantaged areas. E.g. Gallions is situated on the Windsor Park Estate, which consists of 95% social housing and is within the 5% most deprived areas in England (Index of Multiple Deprivation, 2010).

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To create a new work tailored to 3-5-year-olds, an under-served demographic in need of arts access


    » The opera will be developed through exciting and engaging workshops with Reception classes of Gallions Primary School in Newham

    What success will look like

    OperaUpClose and Gallions will put the voices of children at the heart of our work. The creation of an opera tailored to this age group demonstrates the success of this aim.

    Aim 2

    To break down economic, socio-economic and geographical barriers to enable musical inclusion


    » After premiering at Gallions, the opera will tour to UK schools & theatres, to areas of low arts engagement and with heavily discounted & free tickets

    What success will look like

    That the project engages with children and families with a diverse range of backgrounds and means, and makes them feel like opera is ‘for them'

    Aim 3

    To develop and share research on the use of opera as an educational and social tool for Early Years


    » Developmental workshops will test what works best for this age group. Based on our findings, we will create an Early Years music educational package

    What success will look like

    We will gather all findings and create a detailed report which we will share with our network and make available publicly on our website. We will also widely circulate this report

  • Impact


    This project will allow us to:
    1. Contribute to the growing, yet still very limited, repertoire of high-quality music for Early Years
    2. Develop new relationships with UK-wide schools and regional theatres
    3. Enrich our relationship with Gallions Primary School, known for their extraordinary music programme, which puts music at the heart of students’ education at all ages
    4. Continue to develop OperaUpClose’s effective and accessible Learning and Participation programme


    There is a risk that schools will not book our opera. To maximise the most effective ways of reaching schools, we will work with East London Cultural Education Alliance and with our partners at Regional Music Hubs, developed through our previous opera project for older (7-10 year old) children and Participation teams at theatres where we regularly tour with operas for grown-ups.


    Donors to this project will receive an email report after the workshops have been completed detailing our findings and the development of the opera. On tour we will keep them informed about the schools we are visiting, how many young people have been engaged, and their responses to the project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £7,500

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      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Schools Pack Creation of an educational package for schools on tour
      £1,500 Tour workshop development cost Developing the workshop to accompany performances on tour around the UK
      £5,000 Sets/Props Cost of interactive, tactile set and props for UK tour
  • Background


    Gallions is situated on the Windsor Park Estate, an extensive housing development in Beckton, which consists of 95% social housing and is within the 5% most deprived areas in England (Index of Multiple Deprivation, 2010). Newham has the second highest levels of income deprivation of all English local authorities. Just fewer than 70% of children live in households receiving tax credits - the third highest in London behind Barking & Dagenham and Hackney.


    • 90 children in the workshops, 180 Gallions Reception/Y1 students (and c.200 parents) at Gallions Arts Festival; 1400 children (expected) on tour
    • Teachers at schools on tour who benefit from online resources
    • Workshop facilitators (performers, writers, directors) gaining experience and skills
    • Families able to experience high-quality opera with their children on tour
    • OperaUpClose and Gallions Primary School will benefit from partnering on this project

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our testimonials speak for themselves:

    John Ellerman Foundation:
    As a funder, we are mostly interested in supporting arts organisations that bring the performing arts to people who would not otherwise attend. OperaUpClose is doing exactly that. Seeking out, developing & nurturing relationships with new audiences.

    Previous participant, age 7:
    The workshop was amazing. It was great to learn about the setup and behind the scenes. It was jam-packed with great information & delivered in a fun way.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Joanna Lee

    Joanna will be the composer of Peace At Last and will work with Gallions children, Aimee Gardner & a team of ethnically & gender diverse musicians

    Robin Norton-Hale

    Artistic Director & CEO of OperaUpClose, Robin, will write the libretto for, and direct, Peace At Last and will oversee all work on this project.

    Helen Sharp

    Helen will play the harp in both the workshops and on tour. Experience includes: Royal Opera House, London Symphony Orchestra & Britten Sinfonia.