Buxton Festival Community and Education Review 2011 Supported by Buxton Natural Mineral Water
Every year Buxton Festival aims to open up our activities to our community and those unable to attend the main Festival with a programme of engaging events. In 2011 we are delighted to have involved over 2,000 local people in creative, quality arts activities. All projects are designed specifically to suit different sections of our community and all are delivered by experienced professional artists. We are committed to raising funds to ensure that our collective projects can be offered to schools and community groups at no charge. Here is a summary of the year’s projects.
Tarka the Otter Supported by The Chestnut Centre The highlight of this year’s programme was the community opera Tarka the Otter Otter. This was a truly collaborative project involving children from Buxton Junior School, Whaley Bridge Primary School and Glossopdale Community College, young people from The Mad Hatters Youth Choir, local amateur adult singers, young dancers from Déda, young singers from the RNCM and a professional creative team and orchestra. Over the summer term the various groups worked with Festival musicians and artists to put together their part of the show. They all came together for the fi rst time at the beginning of July for a week of intensive rehearsals. A special element of the project has been the creation of a stop-animation fi lm. The fi lm was created by students from Hague Bar and Thornsett Primary schools working with theatre designer Richard Aylwin for a week in May, including a visit to our project sponsor, The Chestnut Centre Otter Sanctuary. The beautiful abstract fi lm provided the backdrop to the opera when it was performed at the Festival. The opera was performed three times, including a free performance for local schools and groups for the elderly. Our goals in undertaking this significant project were to work with a crosssection of our community, including young children, teenagers, teachers and adults. By working with Festival musicians and other sections of the community, participants developed their musical knowledge, performance skills, team-work and interpersonal skills. We hope that by taking part in the project participants gained a real interest in opera and music. ‘I enjoyed taking a part in this year’s community opera—clearly a lot of hard work is put into the event by many people and it was very pleasing to see how well it was supported in the new venue. I hope there will be another one next year!’ A community chorus member Here are some comments from children who attended the schools performance: ‘I liked it because they sang good opera and it was fun and exciting.’ ‘I liked the fact that there was an orchestra not a CD, it sounded a lot better.’
Buxton Poetry Competition In partnership with the University of Derby By again working in partnership with the University of Derby we have inspired nearly 800 people to write a poem, fitting this year’s theme—fi re. We were particularly delighted to receive over 400 entries from young poets who took advantage of free entry for all those under 18.
Wandering Minstrels— concerts for the elderly Supported by Buxton Hall Bank Trust Festival musicians visited eight daycare and residential centres for the elderly as part of this year’s ‘Wandering Minstrels’ series. The singers entertained some of Buxton’s older residents with songs from the shows, opera arias and English classics. The musicians also performed for members of Peak VIP Group. This concert, specifically for visually impaired adults, was supported by the Rotary Club of Buxton. ‘Thank you very much for the concert by the Wandering Minstrels… it was wonderful to watch and listen to such talented performers.’ The Wednesday Luncheon Club
This year’s open competition was judged by Sheffield-based poets Ann and Peter Sansom, while our young poets’ work was judged by Maria Carnegie and Teresa Barnard from the University of Derby. ‘It [Buxton Poetry Competition] was a wonderful opportunity to write creatively and the themes over the past four years have been truly inspirational.’ One of our young competition winners The following competition winners had their poems displayed at the Devonshire Dome Exhibition during the Festival: Open Poetry First: Gill Learner from Reading, Flashpoint (see below) Second: Jo Senior from Chinley, Kindle Third: Julie Mellor from Sheffield, Spontaneous Combustion Highly Commended: Shelia Wilkins from Harrogate, Burn After Reading Commended: Christian Ward from Kingston Upon Thames, July Young People’s Poetry First: Hannah Rodger aged 15 from Chesterfield, And a Fire Put a Heat in their Hearts Second: Jelena Vukovic aged 12 from Eastleigh, Brilliant Beam Third: Jamie King aged 14 from Dunblane, Smoke and Embers Highly Commended: Corey Potter aged 14 from Wolverhampton, Fire Commended: Jessica Frost aged 16 from Kingswinford, Burned by Water Children’s Poetry First: Lucy Waltham aged 9 from Lincoln, The Fire of London Second: Surekha Punshon aged 10 from Bracknell, Hestia’s Flame Third: Jessica Wilson aged 10 from Billingshurst, An Unexpected Poem Highly Commended: Emerald Grimshaw aged 11 from London, Fire: A Red Glow Flickering Commended: Avarni Bassi aged 9 from Nantwich, World War Two Incendiary Bomb The winner of our special Barnardo’s category in 2011 was Laurence Inman, with his rap-inspired verse—Through Fire Towards Cloud Nine. The winning poem:
Live Music Now!—concerts for children with special needs Kudos Percussion Duo delighted their young audience this year with an entertaining hour of wonderful percussion music. The children who attended the concert have a range of disabilities and special requirements. The unique venue of the Octagon gives the children and their carers the freedom they need to relax and enjoy the performance.
Flashpoint by Gill Learner Summoned by email, Facebook, text, they push away slide-rules, teapots, pens; log off, sign out, cover their heads and flock to the square. Coughing through smoke from smouldering cars, they stumble on shattered paving slabs, line up behind the barricades to face the guns. Flags paint the rackety air with stripes, a poster photo scorches, curls. Above the bass and tenor shouts, a clear voice calls a line of verse: a dozen, twenty, chant it back. Through gaps in niqabs passions blaze, under the chadors hope ignites. And history is made.
Poetry Judge Peter Sansom with second prize poet Jo Senior
Visit the competition website—www.derby.ac.uk/buxtonpoetrycompetition—for all the poems.
Buxton’s Sonic Postcard Supported by The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation Students from Buxton Community School worked with composer Duncan Chapman in a series of workshops to create five new acoustic and electronic compositions. The new works were all ‘sonic postcards’, capturing a place in sound. The aim of the project was to inspire and enthuse the teenagers to continue their optional music education as they progress through secondary school. The new works were performed in an enthrawling concert at the Palace Hotel to an audience of Festival-goers, parents and teachers.
Festival for a Fiver Supported by Manchester Airports Group Young people were once again welcomed to Buxton Festival this summer via our Festival for a Fiver campaign. By working with Manchester Airports Group we were able to encourage people under the age of 30 to give opera a try by removing any fi nancial barriers. Through this scheme any Festival ticket is able for just £5 to under 30s after 1st June.
Developing Potential Supported by The Garfield Weston Foundation One of Buxton Festival’s key goals is to provide opportunities for young people who are starting their careers in the arts. This year we provided placements to several young people including an assistant director role for a recent music graduate, a literary series assistant to an English student, and five placements as Festival assistants to young people who wanted to gain experience of the process of managing a large, mixed-genre festival. Here are some comments from the assistants: ‘Working as an assistant at Buxton Festival has provided me with invaluable experience in a wide variety of roles. Not only this, it has given me insight in to both professional administrative/management life and in to the working lives of highcalibre professional musicians, through both my front-of-house and backstage work at the Festival… simply being exposed to such a variety of music has broadened my horizons, both as a performer and listener.’ Robert Looman, student at the RNCM ‘Working as Literary Assistant for the Buxton Festival has been great fun; it develops many essential skills such as administration and confi dence in talking to a wide range of people. The buzz of a major festival is a great environment to work in.’ Rosie Hunt, Literary Assistant ‘Having just graduated from the University of Nottingham last July, and fresh from directing our opera society’s version of The Magic Flute, I revealed my ambition to become an opera director to Buxton Festival. This wonderful opportunity to work alongside a director, such as Stephen Medcalf, in a supportive and friendly community of fantastic top professionals in the world of opera was not to be missed!’ Charlotte Watson, assistant director of Maria di Rohan The Festival also continues to offer a platform to young professional performers via our company chorus. Each year auditions for the chorus are held in London and at the RNCM in Manchester, where we hope to fi nd young British singers who would benefit from the huge experience gained by performing in three Festival operas, recitals, community events, cover shows and more. We are also proud to feature many young musicians in our afternoon concert series. By providing these talented artists a platform in a supportive Festival environment we hope to nurture new British talent for the future.
Peak Photography Competition In partnership with Visit Peak District & Derbyshire Supported by In Focus Photography, Going Digital and Peak Imaging This year’s photography competition welcomed over 200 entries inspired by our theme ‘Fire and Light’. Images ranged from fi rework displays, to industrial images, candles and the more abstract. The range and quality of entries certainly made our judges’ task a tricky one! It was fascinating to see lots of local photographers’ work but it was also really exciting to welcome entries from as far away as Canada, India, Germany and Greece. Judge Ashley Franklin comments: ‘It was heartening to see that the digital revolution seems to have encouraged more people to take pictures and I feel that the high entry to this year’s competition—and the great quality of the winning images—should make this relatively new aspect of Buxton Festival increasingly important.’
Thanks to our supporters We are very proud of our community and education programme and believe it is extremely important to continue to develop this aspect of our work. We are pleased to be able to offer all these specifically designed activities at no cost to the participants, thanks to the support of our community sponsor Buxton Natural Mineral Water, contributors to the Buxton Festival Education Fund, and donations from a range of charitable trusts and foundations. For this generous support we offer our sincere thanks. The following organisations have generously supported our education and community work this year:
Here is our winning image by Richard Wheeler:
Young Ambassadors The Festival team were delighted to work with St Thomas More School in Buxton this summer. Students attended several Festival events including an opera rehearsal, a ballet performance and the community opera. They also met with key Festival figures including Glyn Foley (Chief Executive), Jeremy Gray (director of The Italian Girl in London by Bampton Classical Opera) and Darius James (Artistic Director of Ballet Cymru). The students then wrote about their experiences. Their articles will appear in the school paper and on the Festival blog. Here are some snippets of their work:
The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation The Andor Charitable Trust The Bingham Trust The Buxton Hall Bank Trust The John S Cohen Foundation The Colwinston Charitable Trust Derbyshire Community Foundation The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust The Joyce Fletcher Charitable Trust The Foyle Foundation The Garrick Charitable Trust The Granada Foundation The Holst Foundation The Peter Moores Foundation The PRS for Music Foundation The Radcliffe Trust The Rotary Club of Buxton The RVW Trust The Garfield Weston Foundation The Zochonis Trust We are also very grateful to the many individual donors to the Buxton Festival Education Fund who support our work, usually with small monthly donations. To fi nd out how you can support the Festival’s community and education programme by donating to our Education Fund, or sponsoring a specific event, please contact Claire Rhodes.
‘Overall we think the ballet was a huge success and we would defi nitely recommend it to anyone else that was thinking of going to see it themselves. Beauty and the Beast was a great story to choose and the company interpreted it very well.’ Taken from a Year 7 review of Beauty and the Beast
Claire Rhodes, Development Manager
We went to see the dress rehearsal. It was a very good experience and opportunity because you actually got to see what happens and the amount of effort it takes to make these performances come together. The staging is quite a sight!’ Taken from a Year 8 review of The Italian Girl in London
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