A Midsummer Night's Dream: training the fairies

25th February 2010

At this moment, all around the country, groups of children are preparing for their operatic debuts. That’s because, in each of our performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, eight local school children will join our four professional fairies on stage to form Tytania’s entourage.

Clare Hoskins, who teaches at Childs Hill Primary School in Barnet, has been training her pupils for our Sadler’s Wells show. “It’s a real thrill for children from an ordinary London state primary school have been given this opportunity” she says, “and all because the children sang so well when ETO came to perform at our school.” Clare has been teaching the children to sing Britten’s music before their integration with the rest of the cast, and they are just as enthusiastic as their teacher. “We’re really excited about working with professional singers”, says Zakiyai, while her colleague, Imani, “can’t wait until the director tells us what we have to do on stage”.

But as well as the singing and acting, surely the operatic experience is as much about a magical set and elaborate costumes? As Syd puts it, “I’m looking forward to wearing pink”.

Photos: the children from Childs Hill (left to right from top) – Zakiya, Rojay, Imani, Rron, Mabel, Agie, Faith, Syd, Jess; fairies in costume at Hackney Empire, from our 2004 production.

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