On Friday 16 February, Chinese New Year, Scottish Opera officially launched its Confucius Classroom Hub status with a special performance of the Company’s Primary School Tour production, The Dragon of the Western Sea, at Jordanhill Primary in Glasgow.
Alex Reedijk, General Director of Scottish Opera, was presented with a plaque by Chinese Consul General Pan Xinchun at a ceremony before the performance.
As the first opera company in the world to be selected for this accolade, Scottish Opera is one of four new hubs in Scotland based outwith a school setting. Jane Davidson, Director of Outreach and Education at Scottish Opera, said that she is ‘delighted and proud’ that the Company has been named a Confucius Classroom Hub.
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 be used as a rehearsal space for Chinese-related programmes. Confucius Classrooms are hubs usually based in schools and serving the local community. The concept promotes joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.
The Primary Schools Tour travels all over Scotland, giving thousands of pupils from Primaries 5, 6 and 7 the chance to take part in an interactive musical experience. The Dragon of the Western Sea tells the story of Admiral Zheng He and his vast fleet of ships with 28,000 crew which set sail from China to Indonesia, India, Arabia and the grasslands of Africa in search of trade, treaties and treasure. Composed by Alan Penman with lyrics by Ross Stenhouse, pupils learn the words and songs in their own classrooms and then work with a Scottish Opera team to prepare for a performance in front of classmates, friends and family.