Project information

Ring Round the World

The biggest children's opera ever written! In celebration of London 2012, we will work with 216 schools and a cast of over 6,000, to create a thrilling tale of adventure, with scenes for every major world nation, depicted across 36 10-scene performances in 4 London venues.

January 2012 - July 2012

Charity information: English Pocket Opera Company Ltd

English Pocket Opera Company Ltd logo
  • Need


    1. Perception of opera as ‘not for me’ by majority of schoolchildren & families, esp. of non-western origin.
    2. Limited international scope of ‘Sing Up’ – excellent model for free music education resources, but largely unreflective of cultural diversity in London’s schools.
    3. Children’s lack of knowledge & understanding of other peoples, places and cultures, negative publicity in news: war, rebellion etc.
    4. Lack of opportunity for most London children to feel truly connected to Olympics


    1. Through interactive music/opera-making, and seeing their own country/culture represented through opera, children will feel real ownership of the form.
    2. This project will create a huge, accessible online world music resource – with information & music from/about 220 world nations.
    3. Children will research their twin country, and, through a creative response, will celebrate what it brings to the world – thus contributing meaningfully to the Cultural Olympiad and the Olympic spirit.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Create and tour a new interactive children’s opera that ‘visits’ every country in the world


    » Commission a ‘core’ 5-scene professional opera, to act as a framework for children’s compositions to slot into
    » Invite 6 schools to perform their own scenes at every show, each one representing a different country
    » Compose 5 anthemic ‘Ring Songs’ to act as the signature tunes for the project
    » Create partnerships with 4 London venues, each hosting a 2-week residency, with 9 matinee performances, May-July 2012

    What success will look like

    Success will be...A successful tour, good feedback from venues, audiences & participants re. overall artistic quality and logistical handling of children’s participation

    Aim 2

    Deliver a pan-London 5-step in-depth education programme in up to 216 schools.


    » Online booking and twinning process, where schools select one country to twin with for the project (see
    » 2 x 4-hour INSET sessions offered to teachers from every participating school
    » Professional interactive presentation toured into every school, (reaching c.50,000 children)
    » Artists spend 3 days in every school to compose songs, music & scenes – in-depth work with c.6500 children – before performing at professional venues

    What success will look like

    Success will be...Near 100% achievement of target participation numbers and excellent feedback from teachers and children regarding the education process

    Aim 3

    Foster children’s creativity, raising self-esteem, achievement and aspirations.


    » Devising story and music for a brand new opera scene, and rehearsing / performing together in major project climax
    » Opportunities for group singing – with well-documented socio-educational benefits.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...Good feedback gathered systematically from children & teachers throughout process, via questionnaires, interviews and tracking by an independent evaluator.

    Aim 4

    Create a universally accessible online world music resource, as a permanent legacy.


    » Partners Camden Music Service will donate all their ‘World Song Book’ materials from a previous project
    » World song collection will be encouraged throughout and beyond the project
    » All creative outputs will be uploaded to the main website, with user-friendly songs, activities and music representing every country in the world
    » An easily-navigable version of the entire 220-scene opera will be available online

    What success will look like

    Success will be...Large number of hits on website, and feedback gathered as above on this aspect of the project, its usefulness and accessibility

    Aim 5

    “Get London Singing” – across borders and boundaries, celebrating the world and our world capital


    » The 5 ‘Ring Songs’ will be known to 50,000 children. They will be recorded at Abbey Rd, & premiered at Royal Albert Hall with Camden Music Service
    » All audiences at the live shows will be encouraged to sing along whenever they hear them
    » As part of the London 2012 Festival, other opportunities for performance include Torch Festivals, River of Music & inter-event crowd entertainment

    What success will look like

    Success will be...Very high levels of audience participation at theatre performances, and large numbers of people joining in at other platform events

  • Impact


    The project will greatly extend available world music education resources, with a Song Bank more reflective of UK and London cultural diversity. Success will be shown by the continued use of the website and its steady expansion as users contribute more songs and activities over time. This project also provides a model of good practice for ‘hub’ working as recommended in Henley’s new National Music Plan – evidenced through extended future partnerships between EPOC and music providers nationwide.


    The main risks pertain to non-attainment of funding targets and/or sales to schools. We have already achieved over 50% of schools sales, and are currently busy fundraising. We have, however, created an alternative project outline and budget – trimmed to the bone, and halving all project outputs (i.e. numbers of schools and final performances), with significant artistic compromises. We will, however, revert to this ‘Plan B,’ should there be a significant remaining shortfall by late October 2011.


    We are already producing monthly update newsletters on the project, sent to all supporters and stakeholders. The project website will also be continually updated with news, blogs and further information.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £525,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £412,000 Project Personnel Management, Production Team and all artist fees: singers, orchestra and 34 workshop leaders
      £37,400 Marketing, Admin and Misc. Admin, Core Costs (1 month), Marketing (posters, programmes, PR consultant), Evaluation, Contingency
      £30,000 Venue Hire Rehearsals, Studio recording, and 8 weeks of theatre hire for tour
      £45,600 Production and Project Costs Set, Costumes, Props, Transport, Training, Music Transcription, Resource creation

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Schools Sales £191,000 Conditional
    LEA and Music Service subsidy £19,000 Guaranteed
    Peter Moore's Foundation £50,000 Conditional
  • Background


    The main project will take place exclusively within Greater London, and is open to every one of its 33 boroughs, with schools in 15 of them already signed up. Working in schools allows us access to a genuine cross-section of London’s hugely diverse population. EPOC has a focus on working with children from deprived areas and often works with particularly challenging groups very successfully.


    The project has potential to reach 50,000 London schoolchildren of all ages directly, and many more through whole-school, cross-curricular and wider community initiatives, plus the limitless beneficiaries over time from the website resources. The project will work in-depth with c.6500 children in music-making, dance and performance activities, and will also provide employment for 60 professional artists and up to 25 apprenticeship placements for student artists.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    EPOC has been making fantastic accessible touring opera productions since 1993, with an exclusive focus on opera for, by and with children since 2003. Our unique, integrated ‘Big Opera Project’ format, (of which Ring Round the World is a larger version), has been hugely successful over the years in raising interest, aspirations and achievement, and giving children a life-changing experience – see hundreds of testimonials from teachers, children and partners on

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mark Tinkler (Director)

    EPOC’s Artistic Director since 1993, Mark drives the company’s creative vision and is passionate about music and working with young people.

    Pete Churchill (Composer)

    A renowned composer, choirmaster and educationalist, Pete teaches at several Conservatoires, and has run numerous large-scale schools music projects.

    Sherrell Perkin (Project Development Manager)

    Sherrell was instrumental in EPOC’s educational rebranding back in 2002, and has 20 years of arts education and project management experience.

The performance I saw was stunning. The children involved were thoroughly enjoying themselves and all came out having had a real musical experience

Carole Bowerman, Head of Curriculum Support, Redbridge