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Opera offers schools a touch of drama

Scottish Opera is piloting a course for teachers to become more dramatic performers, writes Emma Seith

The pilot's working title is Teaching Teachers, which Alex Reedijk, the company's general director, admits is "both cheesy and patronising". It begins in the autumn.

Initially, it will focus on around 20 third-year BEd students from Glasgow University and 18 teachers from three local authorities: North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire.

They will work with artists and be encouraged to think about how to use the arts in the classroom; a workshop will be held at the opera's rehearsal centre in Glasgow, where they will have access to wardrobe, props, composers and voice coaches; and they will see the company perform.

Mr Reedijk hopes it will help them think positively about the performing arts. "It is pointless for us to work with the kids if the teachers do not know how to deal with what we are offering," he said.

For Jane Davidson, head of education at Scottish Opera, it is about encouraging teachers to "explore their own creativity".

But ultimately the company is trying to cultivate the next generation of opera-lovers. "We would be handicapping ourselves if we did not target the teachers and make them a priority," Ms Davidson said.

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