On Tuesday 19 September, Scottish Opera was announced as one of the world’s first Confucius Classroom Hubs based outwith a school setting, along with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Scottish Schools Football Association and the Royal Scottish Zoological Society at Edinburgh Zoo.
Hanban, China’s national cultural organisation, selected Scottish Opera as a hub for creating opportunities for experiencing and sharing Chinese language, arts and culture.
The announcement was made at a conference attended by Scottish Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville and Liu Xiaoming, China’s Ambassador to the UK.
The Institute also announced the establishment of six new Confucius Classroom Hubs in Scottish schools, adding to an existing network in schools around Scotland and taking the total to 44.
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville said: ‘My warmest congratulations to everyone at The Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools. To be awarded Model Institute status by Hanban is a very significant achievement. Confucius Classroom Hubs are a key part of how we in Scotland are preparing our young people for our ever changing world through language learning. These Hubs will help to foster greater understanding and relationships between Scotland and China.’
In 2015, in partnership with all five Confucius Institute Hubs at the universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Aberdeen, Scottish Opera commissioned its first opera on a Chinese theme for its of terracotta soldiers) to audiences of nearly 20,000 family and friends. Last year, the production was performed by 200 pupils at Fang Cao Di international School in Beijing. On 3 November 2017, 900 pupils from Fang Cao Di will perform Warriors! at the Beijing Xiedao International Conference and Exhibition Centre.
Scottish Opera will be opening its own ‘classroom’ at the Company’s Edington Street Production Studios, where resources on Chinese performance, arts and culture will be kept. It will also be used as a rehearsal space for Chinese-related programmes.