Artbeat: weekly arts column

11th May 2001 at 01:00

Kids Care for the Countryside is a project designed to cross the cultural divide between town and country using art. It was launched on May Day with maypoles and country dancing in primary schools in London, Devon and Cumbria. Letters and emails will criss-cross the country, but so will pictures. The three schools involved are Sir James Barrie primary in Battersea, south London, and Northlew and Ashbury primary school, near Okehampton in Devon, and Langdale primary school in Cumbria, but other schools can join in.nbsp; Project director, Alma Taft, is keen to hear from other would-be participants. Phone her on 020 7223 0906.

Barriers of another kind are being broken down in East Anglia. The Norfolk Schools Project has been running for four years and aims to take the mystique out of theatre and opera. On Sunday afternoon, on the day that Peter Hall's gargantuan production will be engrossing audiences at the Barbican, another Tantalus will be opening at the Theatre Royal Norwich. A hundred children from West Earlham and Old Catton middle schools and Eaton Hall school, will perform their musical version of the Greek myth - and it only lasts one hour. Tickets: 01603 630000.

Yet more barriers are biting the dust at Ocean , the new cultural centre in Hackney, east London. On May 17 and 18, the Lontano Ensemble will perform the story of the young Panchen Lama who was abducted by the Chinese in Tibet. Spirit Child uses a diversity of styles. Students from Hackney secondary schools will attend a performance and take part in workshops run by the composer and librettist Rebecca Swift. For tickets, call 020 7314 2800; information: 020 8533 0111, or visit the website at www.ocean.org.uk

The barriers between east and west are turning into hurdles to be easily leapt during the Japan 2001 festival. The latest news is of a Slough primary school where the pupils are getting the opportunity to play street music, fashionable with young Japanese people. Music educator, Andrew Peggie, likens Tsugaru-Jamisen to the blues in its rawness and rhythm. Five Japanese instrumentalists will bring their shamizen (like a guitar with a skin front) when they take the workshop at Wexham Court school on May 22. More information: 020 7898 4680; Japan 2001: www.japan2001.org.uk

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra was honoured on Tuesday with a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for introducing nursery school children in East Renfrewshire to music. Rumble in the Jungle , based on the children's picture book by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz, involved 1,500 three- and four-year-olds in all 13 nursery schools and classes in the county, and was supported by the council. Each school or class was assigned an animal from the book and a musician from the RSNO in August, 1999. Two terms of workshops and concerts of music followed, leading to a jungle jamboree at the East Kilbride sports centre.

The AOP Gallery (Association of Photographers) in London EC2, having recently exhibited winners of the Kodak Student Awards, will feature the work of young photographers from UK colleges, from June 11to July 7, for a week at a time. The colleges are Cheltenham amp; Gloucester College of Higher education, and Newcastle, Mid Cheshire, Reading and City of Westminster Colleges. For more information: 020 7739 3631.

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