An innovative five-year partnership between the English National Opera (ENO) and New City College has led to a moving performance by ESOL learners at the iconic Church House, Westminster.
Working with the college since 2018, ENO’s professional artists have delivered intensive 6-week singing and songwriting workshops each year at NCC’s London campuses, bringing the magic of opera and performance into the classroom and making it more inclusive.
This year the project was called Songs of Discovery. The workshops, held in college and taught in English, helped with language acquisition as well as promoting self-expression and building confidence. Some ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students who took part arrived in the UK with no knowledge of English. Many are looked after children from refugee backgrounds who have experienced trauma in their early lives, so for them to have learned songs and performed in an opera is a huge achievement.
As part of the project, each student was also taken on a tour of the London Coliseum and was given the opportunity to watch the ENO rehearsing the Opera Akhnaten, based on the life of an Egyptian pharaoh.
The Songs of Discovery project culminated in a final fantastic performance on 17 March at Church House, Westminster in front of an audience of friends, family, staff and other students.