National Centre for Early Music

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Musical Play in a Week

Handels Time Machine

The Quest

The Baker Street Irregulars

Arabian Nights

A highlight of the NCEM Learning and Participation programme is the annual Musical Play in a Week Summer School, which has been running since 2001. The Musical Play in a Week provides opportunities for young people, aged 10-15, to collaborate with early music specialists and theatre professionals, to put on a historically-informed play combining acting, instrumental music and singing. Young people meet daily (10am - 4pm) to develop and rehearse the production and the project culminates in a performance for family, friends and invited guests on the final evening.

As well as having a strong emphasis on fun during the week, the Summer School encourages creative learning, building young people's theatrical and musical skills and increasing their awareness of the discipline required to work in a performing arts setting. Participants experience at first hand the process of creating a production and the teamwork that is required to achieve this. Working intensively with their peers also helps the development of social and negotiating skills, necessary to achieve a common purpose.

Young people have given very positive feedback about their experiences and learning:

  • I loved everything apart from the fact it had to end!
  • I loved meeting new people;
  • This has helped me get more skills on my cello and get better at performing;
  • I found you need to work as a team to make it all happen and practised my skills at doing that;
  • I learnt how to develop the personality of a character;
  • I liked the excitement and laughter!
  • I learnt more singing techniques and about how to sing in a large group for the first time;
  • I learnt about history and how things were over 300 years ago;
  • I sung songs in different languages for the first time - I learnt some Italian and French;
  • It was really confidence building;
  • I loved that feeling at the end of the performance! So proud of myself!
Performances to date have included:
The Sun King and the Busker (2015)
The Secret Orchestra (2014)
Trooper Jane (2013)
An Air of Mystery (2012)
The Kenilworth Secret (2011)
Oak Apple Day (2010)
Handel's Time Machine (2009)
The Quest (2008)
Arabian Nights (2007)
The Box of Delights (2006)
Telling Tales (2005)
The Bakerstreet Irregulars (2004)
Clockwork (2003)
Blacklight Theatre Company (2002)
The Midnight Folk (2001)