Our award-winning Primary Schools Tour, which goes on the road this month for the rest of the academic year, with the newly created show, Vikings! The Quest for the Dragon’s Treasure, has been re-imagined and expanded to make it even more accessible and adaptable for all schools in Scotland to take part.
Vikings!, which delivers aspects of A Curriculum for Excellence, is designed for primary 5, 6 and 7 pupils, and schools can now engage with the production as a digital only learning and teaching experience, using online resources currently available on our website, to prepare the children for all aspects of presenting a performance to an audience.
This online delivery method — which includes our singers appearing on screen in classrooms to sing alongside the class — makes the project even easier and more affordable for teachers to engage with, particularly in those schools without specialist music teachers at primary level.
With 50-plus years of experience in classrooms, our Outreach and Education Programme has developed this approach because it recognised that the in-person learning Primary Schools Tour experience reaches capacity very quickly each year, so a complementary strand of the programme has been created in the form of a set of exclusively online resources — so many more schools across Scotland can participate — and at a much lower cost per pupil.
For schools that are already signed up for the hybrid version, the same high quality teaching resources that teach the music and movement, as well as offering a range of subject related activities that can enrich the cross curricular learning experience, are used to prepare the pupils to enjoy a day-long workshop with our team of highly experienced arts education animateurs and performers. On the morning of the workshop, they and the pupils spend just four hours together, rehearsing then performing an all-singing, all-dancing 30-minute show in their school for classmates, friends and family, complete with fabulous costumes and props, backed by a fully orchestrated soundtrack.
By providing these two complementary opportunities for pupils to engage in outstanding musical experiences, we are cognisant of the crucial need to support music teaching in Scottish schools which, as the research carried out by The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland into music education in Scotland between 2018 and 2019, and also the report by the Music Education Partnership Group (MEPG) published in February 2019, shows, there has been a decline in the number of specialist music teachers in schools, because of a perceived devaluation of music compared to other subjects.
Until 7 July, the fully booked, in-person Vikings! tour will be visiting schools in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Moray, Aberdeenshire, East and West Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Dumfries & Galloway, Stirlingshire, East Renfrewshire, Angus, the Scottish Borders, Clackmannanshire, Argyll & Bute, South Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Newcastle.
With music by Alan Penman and lyrics by Natalie Arle-Toyne, Vikings! takes pupils on a magical journey of magic and mystery. An ancient prophecy sends the Viking Queen and her swashbuckling band of warriors off to steal gemstones from the legendary Ice Dragon, while the sneaky Sorcerer Supreme stays behind, planning to seize power. The wise Villagers foresee that stealing the gems is just the start of their troubles. Soon the Sorcerers, Vikings and Villagers must work together to restore balance to the land, for they’ve stolen treasure more precious than gold or silver, and the stakes are higher than they could possibly have imagined.
Find out more about Vikings! and our other Primary Schools productions at www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/opera-for-schools/