MinterTom  Aug.05.2011 0 Comments

The world gets smaller; shivers run round the globe in a matter of hours –whether economic, or tectonic. There is also some sense of far reaching synchronicity; looking for it, in arts programming, is a way of discovering partners who might be far flung in proximity, but share ideological synergy; partners who aim to connect within local community needs, and create programs that are flexible, sustainable, and resonate with celebration of the local society. Regardless of how distant such models are reaching out brings home commonality. In Thurrock, in Essex -the Thames Gateway, the Royal Opera House has opened an education facility in local premises, and connected with the city’s need to platform its local resource heritage; the industrial park where the ROH education team works out of is home to several resource groups, whose products and skills interweave, and support mutual involvement. The ROH schools program is in over 100 schools, in the region, and is expanding to move its resource net further afield. Looking to connect with the community in Thurrock, and present relevance in its arts program, the ROH education team facilitated a workshop that plumbed the local oral history, and uncovered a story related to a local person and an incident in WWI. The children who participated in this workshop and journey into the lore of their community, fashioned an opera out of the story, with the guidance of the ROH education team, in collaboration with a composer, librettist and opera director. The importance of this workshop is that it cements relationship; the elements of arts programming were brought into play in fashioning the opera, but the nugget for the work came from local oral history. The children who engaged in this process came away with relevant ‘tools’, and everyone shared in an enriched sense of community prestige. To be able to platform a piece of local lore as the nugget of an arts endeavor, retrieved in an exercise of oral history, is an example of a synergistic structure for programming that will connect with every community, anywhere; this is the grain of commonality that can work to bring partners together, not only from diverse backgrounds, but from diverse regions, and offer an organic opportunity for arts programming. …imagine the nuggets of stories, scattered through the communities of DC, deep in the oral history of its families.. waiting to be revealed, as works of art, and celebrated..

Blog Category: