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Project information

We're going to a concert!

Every child has the right to enjoy music. But many children don’t have the chance to experience live music, because of social or economic reasons or a disability. We want to offer storytelling concerts and interactive performances for schools, and for children with special educational needs.

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: Aurora Orchestra

Aurora Orchestra logo
  • Need


    A wealth of evidence shows that taking part in arts activities benefits children, from teamwork through music-making to developing a love of the arts. But teachers tell us that there are issues preventing schools from taking part, due to changes in the curriculum and cuts to school budgets. There are also gaps in provision, with fewer opportunities for children aged under 5 and those with special educational needs. In addition classical music can be perceived as elitist and for adults only.


    We want to introduce children to classical music through engaging activities that meet needs identified by teachers. At our Far, Far Away storytelling performances pupils aged 0–5 are introduced to works by a classic composer with specially-created stories and theatrical elements (adapted for pupils with special needs). At our Immersed workshops pupils experience a memorised performance of a symphony from right inside the orchestra, giving a viscerally intense experience of classical music.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Introduce children to classical music through high-quality, interactive immersive performances.


    » Far, Far Away storytelling performances for children aged 0-5, with three productions over the year, each featuring a different composer.
    » ‘Immersed' workshops for primary pupils, where participants experience a memorised performance of a symphony from right inside the orchestra.
    » Monitoring and evaluation over the year, using feedback from participants, teachers and partners to make improvements to the projects.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated through evaluation, confirming that participants and teachers learned about music, enjoyed the experience and thought activities were high quality.

    Aim 2

    Ensure children with special educational needs can take part in our programme.


    » Adapt ‘Far, Far Away’ performances to be suitable for primary age pupils with a range of special educational needs, consulting with schools.
    » Offer Far, Far Away to special educational need schools, including Westminster schools for pupils with autism & multiple learning difficulties.
    » Monitoring and evaluation over the year, using feedback from participants, teachers and partners to make improvements to the project.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated through evaluation of adapted performances, confirming teachers, participants & partners thought activities were enjoyable, suitable and high quality.

    Aim 3

    Provide resources for teachers for our projects, to encourage a legacy of creativity in schools.


    » Schools attending 'Far, Far Away' receive resource packs linked to the curriculum to facilitate learning before and after the performance.
    » Schools for pupils with special educational needs attending 'Far, Far Away' performances receive specially adapted resource packs.
    » 'Immersed' participants and teachers take part in workshops before and after performances to explore the experience and meet musicians.
    » Teachers attend professional development sessions with Aurora leaders looking at how programmes can be used within schools. (Initially Camden)

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by evaluation, confirming teachers thought activities, resources & professional development were high quality, contributing to creativity in school.

  • Impact


    Through all our projects we aim to build a lasting relationship with schools. We encourage participants and teachers to continue to develop their interest in music and knowledge of Aurora, by offering professional development and ticket offers for our concerts. Our projects will increase opportunities for younger children and those with special educational needs; we have been asked by Westminster to be part of a ‘manifesto’ for improving the long-term arts offer for pupils with special needs.


    1) Loss of key personnel e.g. musicians/workshop leaders trained to work with schools and pupils with special educational needs. We are mitigating this by developing the skills of a wider pool of players and building relationships with more leaders.

    2) School drops out: we identify schools via partnerships e.g. Camden Music Service, making it easier to identify a replacement.

    3) Health & safety: all our projects with children are managed through our procedures for safeguarding young people.


    Donors will receive five email reports during the year, comprising an introduction to the project and upcoming plans at the start of the year; a report each term sharing progress, stories and any issues identified; and a report at the end of the year giving an overview of impact and highlights.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £8,275 Far, Far Away Creative development including writing, music arrangements, set design
      £7,200 Far, Far Away 1 day of concerts per term (min 3 concerts per day), for up to 60 children per concert
      £4,800 Far, Far Away SEN 1 day of concerts per term (min 3-6 concerts per day), for c10 children per concert
      £7,000 Immersed workshops Up to 4 workshops, each for 30 pupils, including workshop leaders excluding orchestra costs
      £1,000 Resources & prof development Development of resource packs for schools & professional development sessions for teachers
      £1,225 Administration & communication Administration and communications to recruit and manage schools.
      £500 Evaluation Monitoring and evaluation throughout the project
  • Background


    Far, Far Away concerts will take place at world-class venue Kings Place, in the cultural district of Kings Cross, or on site at schools for pupils with special educational needs. Immersed workshops will take place at rehearsal venues across London. Schools will be drawn from Tri-Borough Music Hub boroughs (Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith, Westminster) and Camden, all of which have a diverse population with above average numbers of pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium and Free School Meals.


    The primary beneficiaries will be pupils attending concerts and workshops. We will offer 3 days of Far, Far Away concerts, with potential for at least 3 concerts per day, each designed for 2 classes of 30 children. We will also offer 3 days of concerts at special educational needs schools, offering up to 6 concerts each designed for a class of 10 children. We will offer 4 Immersed workshops, suitable for 1-2 classes of 30 children. Teachers will benefit from professional development sessions.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Aurora team has considerable expertise in running successful music projects for schools, recognised through awards from the Royal Philharmonic Society and Music Education Council (for our role in Tri-Borough Music Hub’s (TBMH) Seven Seeds schools’ project). Our Far, Far Away performances receive outstanding feedback from teachers, pupils and families. We are currently the only orchestra worldwide performing from memory and so uniquely placed to offer our new Immersed workshops.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jane Mitchell

    Creative Director Jane will design the projects (in collaboration with partners and participants), lead on delivery and participate as flautist.

    Jessie Maryon Davies

    Jessie will work with Jane on project design. She will present Far, Far Away performances and lead on Immersed workshops and teacher sessions.

    Kate Wakeling

    Writer Kate creates the stories for Far, Far Away, bringing a composer's music alive. She will also lead on creation of resource packs for schools.

    Project Partners Including Kings Place, Westminster Special Schools, Tri-Borough Music Hub And Camden Music Service

    Tri-Borough, Camden and Westminster will help identify schools and support administration. Kings Place hosts schools concerts (except SEN schools).

In my experience it was one of the best school’s concerts I’ve attended – the presentation was super, the lighting added real magic, and the playing was brilliant. Jessie [the animateur] pitched the concert at just the right level, keeping the children involved throughout.

Teacher, Camden school