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Hansel and Gretel is an opera that is perfect for first time audiences. It’s wonderfully accessible music, it has great characters and a compelling story that’s familiar to us all. Alongside the company’s recent tour of the opera, we worked in partnership with Theatre Lovett and the Abbey theatre, with a number of student groups in locations around Ireland ahead of their visit to the opera.
During our week at the Abbey theatre in Dublin, pupils from St. Mary’s Holy Faith Secondary School, Glasnevin, attended a workshop led by lighting designer Sarah-Jane Shiels. Sarah-Jane introduced pupils to the fundamentals of lighting design by demonstrating her practice on the Abbey stage. In a hands on experience, pupils took turns to light one another on stage to better understand the artistic process behind lighting design. Later on, Sarah-Jane will visit St Mary’s to see the student’s own lighting design as part of their school production. This project was run through the Arts Council’s Creative Schools scheme and facilitated by Creative Associate and INO Artistic Partner, Sharon Carty.
Creative Schools also saw us partner with Creative Associate, Síle Ní Bhríon and Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin in Mayfield, Cork. Students received an afternoon workshop in their school from Hansel and Gretel co-director, Louis Lovett, working on aspects of staging and preparing the students for their first ever trip to the opera
“Touring Ireland with Hansel and Gretel was a real treat. Parallel to this, having workshops with groups of school children, young singers and teachers and sharing insights into the process... this was the icing on the operatic cake.” - Louis Lovett, Director, Theatre Lovett
Students from Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin in Mayfield, Cork
Lastly, in the National Opera House, Wexford, Louis worked with students on the Irish College of Music and Theatre Young Artist Programme. Students had been working on excerpts from the opera in advance of the workshop and Louis worked with them to fine tune aspects of their performances before they attended a performance of the opera in the evening.
Students from the Irish College of Music and Theatre Young Artist Programme
“It’s so important that an arts organisation of the size and ambition of Irish National Opera is proactive in working with communities around Ireland. Opera is an art form that anyone can connect with, and there’s no better way to introduce young people to this extraordinary world than through hands on experience with some of Ireland’s top theatre and operatic practitioners. We’re grateful that Sarah-Jane and Louis took the time to work with us on these projects” - James Bingham, INO Studio and Outreach Producer