Newham schools prep for shows at Southbank and Royal Albert Hall
PUBLISHED: 18:32 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:33 25 March 2019
Students have been preparing new material to perform in two of London's biggest venues.
Young people at Rokeby School in Canning Town, have created new spoken word narrations for Newham’s Community Opera Full Circle.
The event was the last in a series of workshops looking at refugee journeys, gang violence, and place-making.
Full Circle has been put together by more than 300 people from ten Newham schools, with collaboration from Newham Music and Lister Community School.
It has already been performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Tower of London, and it’s going on to the Southbank Centre for Refugee Week on June 23.
It’s also going to the Royal Albert Hall for the Music for Youth Proms in November.
The show has more than 700 children and young people singing, playing instruments and performing spoken word narration.
Amy Haynes, head of faculty for music and drama at Lister Community School said: “The success and impact of the community opera project really shows that our students are capable of so much more than people sometimes expect.
“I am extremely proud of the young people who have worked so hard throughout the project and excited that they will get to take part in the reward of performing in these amazing venues.”
The workshop at Rokeby saw 40 students work with professional poets to create the new work.
Poets Laila Sumpton and Mohammed Yahya of Counterpoints Arts helped the young people as part of the Newham Word Festival.
Projects and events manager at Newham Music Nicola Williams said: “It is fantastic that we’ve been able to continue to grow this project and reach even more young people through so many different outlets.
“It’s exciting that we’ve had the chance to help create a piece of art that is relevant to today’s communities, and even more so that the young people really took ownership of the story and messaging.”
The opera is based on the life of Jonathan Lofulo, a former child refugee and now Newham resident.
After getting out of prison he got a first-class degree in education from the University of East London.
Full Circle won Outstanding Musical Initiative in the 2019 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence in March.