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Speakout!

Speakout was a brand new opera written by the students of Corbets Tey Special School, working alongside professionals from ETO. The piece involved every single child in the school performing on stage at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch

Director 
Helen Eastman

Speakout was a brand new opera written by the students of Corbets Tey Special School, working alongside professionals from ETO. The piece involved every single child in the school performing on stage at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch.

English Touring Opera has been working intensively and creatively with Corbets Tey School for nearly 3 years. Speakout! was an exciting culmination of this work: students created an opera based on the themes of communication and identity. The resulting opera was performed at the Queens on June 23rd 2009. The Queens is one of the UK’s leading repertory theatres.

Corbets Tey is a school where students are valued for their gifts and for their individuality. It embraces the belief that nothing is too good for these children, and that education is not just about the classroom. The association with ETO has proved that transformation is not the stuff of fantasy. ETO’s work in the school has included every student and every teacher in a variety of projects. What began as a Creative Partnerships pilot programme has developed to become a major long-term creative collaboration.

In Speakout! singing, drama, dance and film – including animated film – was created to tell a story which will see young people breaking out from the confinement that goes with being unheard and misunderstood. The story was partly based on the students’ own lives, and was both moving and comic.

The professional performers were Jonathan Gunthorpe, Tom Yeates, Goronwy Thom, Leon Scott, Natalie Harris, Rebecca Hewes, Emma Rothman and Joanna Skillett. Director Helen Eastman, composer Russell Hepplewhite, designer Anna Bruder, lighting designer Richard Godin, film animator Babis Alexiadis, and filmmaker Claudia Lee led the creative team.

A DVD of the whole 2 hour show is available on request, as well as a studio recording of 12 songs.

A parent wrote after the performance:

A thank you to you all from my heart for an amazing and beautiful Speakout show at the Queens Theatre Hornchurch on 23 June. I was so proud of all the children and our son in Palm Class.
The show was visually and spiritually beautiful. It has opened a window into the souls of our children and peeking through that window was a moment in time that I will never forget and will always cherish. You enabled our children to shine whilst teaching them a valuable lesson.

Helen Eastman

Helen Eastman

Director

Born London
Training Oxford University, LAMDA
Theatre Directing credits include The Cure at Troy (BAC and Tour), Wild Raspberries (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), Iphigenia at Aulis (Playhouse), The Monument (Finborough Theatre), Wolf Game (Union Theatre), The Baltimore Waltz (The Gatehouse), Foreground/Background (Young Vic Studio, On War Programme) and readings at Old Vic New Voices. Resident Director for The Donkey Show (West End, site specific).
Opera Staff Director Ariodante and The Turn of the Screw (ETO), Revival Director Turn of the Screw (OTC)
Other Helen is co-artistic director of award-winning new writing company, Floodtide

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