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Christmas Frost

A new opera for children written in collaboration with the entire primary school of North Elmham in Norfolk.

Christmas Frost is a new opera for children written in collaboration with the entire primary school of North Elmham in Norfolk. Two sell-out performances took place in suitably icy conditions in December 2010. ETO has worked for a number of days throughout the autumn term with every class in the school, devising songs, lyrics and stories. Composer Russell Hepplewhite, director Gareth Machin, and designer Anna Bruder led an exceptionally strong team, including singer Catrine Kirkman and actor Matt Prendergast, and players Bryony Morrison and Steve Burnett. Every child in the school performed including the irresistible Frosties from Reception. The project was funded through the auspices of FONES (Friends of North Elmham) and Chivers Trust. It is the start of longer term work with the school, including their participation in our book, Foxtales, and in our production of Fantastic Mr Fox at the Norwich Theatre Royal on April 21 2011. The staff, pupils and friends of North Elmham have been wonderful to be work with, and the show was a huge hit with the audience.

Two trustees from the Chivers Trust wrote:

I have just returned from North Elmham – it was a life enhancing experience and the level of engagement of all 122 said enough in itself. Many, many congratulations to everyone – a model for every school in the county (or even country).

I just wanted to write and say that the performance yesterday was a wonderful and best Christmas present ever! I really enjoyed it and thought each of the constituent parts were excellent in their own way. Russell’s music was superb and very expressive so that the feelings of the characters were quite tangible and the relief and joy at the finale was like a surge. Each of the classes did well from the Frosties to the larger animals – singing and acting and dancing to a very high standard. We were especially impressed by the harmonies. The musicians and actors from ETO like Matt made it magical for even the tinies. It was wonderful for everyone. The staff of the school and the headmasters all pulled their weight in the crew so I am sure the whole project will never be forgotten.

The story of Christmas Frost takes us from home into the forest, where Jack Frost and his friends deliberately make us lost. It is only with the help of assorted animals that we find our way back home to Mum.

Christmas Frost is available for other primary schools. There is a score and accompanying CD.

Photographs by Robin Turner.

Showing At

  1. To be confirmed
    31st Dec 2010 - 9:00 pm
  1. To be confirmed — 31st Dec 2010 - 9:00 pm

Showing At

  1. To be confirmed
    31st Dec 2010 - 9:00 pm

Your Comments

  1. We had the most magical week here in North Elmham Primary School, with ETO completing their residency culmminating in 2 performances. The impact has been huge. The children's singing was superb and the whole experience truly inspirational.
    I encourage other schools to take this route to engage their school community. It was incredible how ETO involved the children right from the beginning, listening to their ideas and incorporating them in the songs. The children had ownership of the story and opera from the start, dispelling any preconceived ideas they may have had about opera.

    Said Jennie Blogg at 15:10pm on 7th Mar 2011

  2. Although this was 5 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 8 at the time, and I'm 12 now, 13 this year. I had a blast performing this, and especially liked being on the BBC news! Although my mother recorded the broadcast and shows it every year. Hmm. Not so good. Oh well. It was still great!

    Said Scarlett Andrews at 16:47pm on 6th Feb 2015

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