National Portrait Gallery

English Touring Opera and National Portrait Gallery collaborate once more to inspire brand new musical theatre composition with primary schools.

Using the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, and working in collaboration with professional musicians from English Touring Opera, primary school children aged 7-11 are introduced to a portrait, and encouraged to create words and music to perform their own piece to the public in front of the chosen portrait.

Primary teachers can now explore the skills used in this project in their own teaching by attending our CPD day on 25 June 2015. More information here.

Recent feedback

“I didn’t know paintings could be so interesting!”
“I want to play piano as good as Pete when I grow up.”
“I’m going to ask my mum if we can come back to the gallery in the holidays so I can show her the painting and sing her the song.”

It was fun thinking of ideas, working in a team and looking at the portraits. The best part was making up the story. I loved the song!

Guadalupe, 10

Amazing, it was fun learning and making the song about T.S. Eliot. The best part was working and brainstorming the song. Never close down the gallery!

Niamh, 10

The workshop on Thursday was excellent – thoroughly enjoyed by children and staff. Pete pitched the work at the perfect level for our Y3-5 mixed group (I know it’s not always easy with a mixed group). The children were buzzing all the way home. We also had some parents who came to watch the performance and were really impressed too.

Teacher, Chase Bridge School

We had a fabulous time. What a really great project with terrific end results, the kids were all so thrilled with their song. Pete was inspirational. Do book us in again next year.

Teacher, St Paul’s CE Primary School

Seven years of collaboration!

2014 marks the seventh year of this remarkable collaboration between English Touring Opera and the National Portrait Gallery. Combining the visual arts, with history, literacy, and music this series of inspiring and creative workshops provides an opportunity for teachers of Key Stage 2 to deepen their pupils’ appreciation and understanding in these curriculum areas.

How does the day work?

Pictures in the collection serve as a jumping off point for new composition. The children are taken to one of the Gallery spaces, where they are introduced to a historical or contemporary portrait. Using their newfound knowledge of the portrayed character, the pupils then begin instant music-theatre composition, working with professional musicians in the workshop space to create their own original lyrics and music. The workshop lasts a full day and concludes with the children returning to the portrait in the main Gallery to perform their composition in public.

These workshops are run biannually at the National Portrait Gallery and are led by leading musicians and animateurs Paul Griffiths and Pete Letanka assisted by a range of other professional musicians.

Contact and booking details

The workshop is suitable for all Key Stage 2 classes and lasts a full day.

For more details please email Tim Yealland or Talia Lash at ETO, or call 020 7833 2555.

English Touring Opera and the National Portrait Gallery would like to acknowledge the generous support of Sarah and Geoff Roberts for this project.

Showing At

  1. National Portrait Gallery
    22nd Sep 2014 - 10:00 am
  2. National Portrait Gallery
    23rd Sep 2014 - 10:00 am
  3. National Portrait Gallery
    24th Sep 2014 - 10:00 am
  4. National Portrait Gallery
    26th Sep 2014 - 10:00 am
  5. National Portrait Gallery
    18th May 2015 - 10:00 am
  6. National Portrait Gallery
    19th May 2015 - 10:00 am
  7. National Portrait Gallery
    20th May 2015 - 10:00 am
  8. National Portrait Gallery
    21st May 2015 - 10:00 am
  9. National Portrait Gallery
    22nd May 2015 - 10:00 am
  1. National Portrait Gallery — 22nd Sep 2014 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

  2. National Portrait Gallery — 23rd Sep 2014 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

  3. National Portrait Gallery — 24th Sep 2014 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

  4. National Portrait Gallery — 26th Sep 2014 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

  5. National Portrait Gallery — 18th May 2015 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

  6. National Portrait Gallery — 19th May 2015 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

  7. National Portrait Gallery — 20th May 2015 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

  8. National Portrait Gallery — 21st May 2015 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

  9. National Portrait Gallery — 22nd May 2015 - 10:00 am

    St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

The workshop was absolutely wonderful and the kids’ performance was tear jerking to say the least! What a marvellous achievement to create such a wonderful piece of music in a short space of time and in such a prestigious setting. Pete did an excellent job of giving the kids ownership and of guiding them just the right amount so that the finished piece was their own. When they came to perform it and people gathered around to watch it was very moving. The kids loved it too and I received similar feedback from my colleagues. Thanks again for making this the best trip ever!

Teacher, Ashmount Primary School

Showing At

  1. National Portrait Gallery
    22nd Sep 2014 - 10:00 am
  2. National Portrait Gallery
    23rd Sep 2014 - 10:00 am
  3. National Portrait Gallery
    24th Sep 2014 - 10:00 am
  4. National Portrait Gallery
    26th Sep 2014 - 10:00 am
  5. National Portrait Gallery
    18th May 2015 - 10:00 am
  6. National Portrait Gallery
    19th May 2015 - 10:00 am
  7. National Portrait Gallery
    20th May 2015 - 10:00 am
  8. National Portrait Gallery
    21st May 2015 - 10:00 am
  9. National Portrait Gallery
    22nd May 2015 - 10:00 am

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