Project information

Samling Academy

Samling Academy provides unique training and performance opportunities in music and classical singing to young people, aged 14-21, from or studying in the North East of England. We want to extend this provision from two weekends in October to an additional four weekends throughout the Spring

January 2017 - October 2017

Charity information


Samling logo
  • Need


    There is no conservatoire between Manchester and Glasgow - junior or otherwise - and, as such, there is nowhere in the North East where young people can access high quality, classical ‘performance-based’ vocal music education. Samling Academy was founded five years ago at the request of Newcastle University and Sage Gateshead with the aim of helping to bridge this gap.


    Working with our project partners, Newcastle and Durham Universities and Sage Gateshead, we have established a culture and forum for classical singing and performance where none existed. Samling identifies voices in the region’s schools and universities and provides them with unique opportunities to study and develop their talent with expert professional performers and coaches. Participants gain invaluable performance opportunities in public concerts and biennial fully-staged opera productions.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Hold two Samling Academy Weekends, concluding with a concert at Sage Gateshead in October 2017


    » Hold auditions in April 2017, inviting students at every North East secondary school and HE establishment to attend
    » Engage world-class professional artists, coaches, teachers and Samling Artists to lead the Academy Weekends
    » First weekend at Durham University focusing on vocal technique and stagecraft. The second at Newcastle University focusing on languages and movement
    » Provide the 25 Academy participants with the opportunity to perform at Sage Gateshead and showcase what they have learnt over the two weekends

    Giving 25 talented young singers the opportunity to work with world-class Academy Leaders and selling at least 200 tickets for the concert at Sage Gateshead

    Aim 2

    Provide further opportunities for young singers through monthly Development Weekends in Spring 2017


    » individuals who would benefit, including those who audition unsuccessfully but display potential, and through recommendations from our partners
    » Engage professional artists, coaches, teachers and Samling Artists to lead the Development Weekends
    » Hold four Development Weekends throughout Spring 2017 with a focus on vocal technique and some language coaching
    » Provide up to 80 more participants with the opportunity to work with our world-class Samling Academy leaders

    When many of our Development Weekend participants audition successfully for the following year’s Samling Academy Weekends

  • Impact


    Classical music does not feature in state schools across the country due to curriculum and financial pressures. We want to give as many young people as possible the opportunity to experience classical music, give classical singing a go, and identify and nurture talent.
    We will demonstrate success through creating a demand from students from all backgrounds, and especially state schools, to learn to sing classically and possibly pursue careers in music.


    Classical music is often perceived as ‘elitist’. Through our work with schools we are addressing this barrier to find young people who are yet to discover their voice.

    Not raising sufficient funds:
    Our activities are planned 2 years ahead and it is our policy to maintain unrestricted funds of approximately 12 months total expenditure to meet our existing commitments. The Weekends in October will go ahead in line with this policy, but we will not be able to pursue our work in state schools.


    Donors will receive monthly updates about our work including participant blogs, quarterly newsletters, through social media and special invitations to all Academy performances.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £101,788

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £39,205 Fees & Accommodation Leaders' fees and accommodation costs
      £30,935 Venues Venue hire and 'in-kind' provision
      £9,478 Travel & subsistence Project travel and subsistence costs
      £5,671 Evaluation, marketing & DBS Evaluation, photography, marketing, design & print and DBS checks
      £16,499 Management & contingency Samling management and project contingency

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Trusts & Foundations £80 Guaranteed
    Project Partners £10,000 Guaranteed
    In-kind provision £29,277 Guaranteed
    Trust & Foundation £5,000 Conditional
    Box office & programme sales £6,000 Conditional
    Participants' contributions £3,100 Conditional
  • Background


    Samling is based in the North East of England and works through its Academy with young people from across: Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham and Teesside – some of England’s most deprived areas. Fundraising in the North East has become increasingly challenging over the past few years and, following cuts in local authority and statutory funding, the resources of the smaller and regional Trusts and Foundations that we once relied on are becoming increasingly stretched.


    This project will benefit young people, aged 14-21, in the North East of England, especially those in the region’s state schools who may have the potential to sing classically and pursue professional careers.

    The public benefit from the project through attending our annual concert at Sage Gateshead, biennial operas and a summer concert series. We are also building new audiences for classical music as our Samling Academy participants, and their families, are enthused to attend more events.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    As Classical Music Magazine reported in March, Samling ‘having never put a foot wrong in 20 years’ has, without exception, delivered programmes of the highest calibre and consistency. Since establishing Samling Academy in 2012 we have created a culture in the North East for classical singing and performance built on our professional Samling Artist Programme which drives the whole enterprise; a self-sustaining musical community internationally and nationally recognised as unique and outstanding.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Karon Wright

    Artistic & Executive Director of Samling

    Caroline Dowdle

    Samling Academy’s music director, Caroline works regularly as a vocal coach with the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme, ROH and the RCM

This has been, quite literally, life-changing.

Samling Academy Participant, 2013