Studio 3 Arts

Celebrating 30 years of socially-engaged, co-created art

Cultural Citizens at the Royal Opera House

300 students from Barking and Dagenham, on the 21st of March were given the chance to experience a day at the Royal Opera House. The day was action packed, with talks, backstage tours, workshops and capped off with the performances of “After the Rain” and “Flight Pattern” choreographed by the very acclaimed Christopher Wheeldon and Crystal Pite.

My journey started off at my former secondary school, Eastbury Comprehensive. I was assigned to the school for the whole day to support their journey. With the coach arriving at the school, it was very clear that the students couldn't contain their excitement of leaving school grounds and being on a double decker coach.

Students were keen to find out more about would be going on once we got to the Royal Opera House. One student asked whether they would be lucky enough to see the Queen when they got there. Of course they didn't, but touring the Queen's booth at the ROH, offered just as much pleasure amongst the students.

The tours and workshops, brought out very attentive and engrossed students, inspired by the whole affair, with continuous pauses throughout the proceedings for questions and comments. Students asked how they could end up working here, how much the orchestra were paid and also how they could go about getting on to the stage one day. The vast majority of students hadn't been to the Royal Opera House and weren't disappointed by what they got to see, the ballet rehearsal rooms were of particular interest to the students.

After lunch, the the final performances took place, which were well and  truly breath-taking, giving many students their first experience of ballet in such contemporary fashion. The students were highly engaged by the performances, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. When the performances ended and the performers took their last bow, the students gave a very enthusiastic applause, talking amongst themselves on how they found the performances. Not so long after we were on the coach back to Barking & Dagenham.

One student asked if they could ever go back, I told him that the Royal Opera House is only a train journey away and is open to everyone.

Cultural Citizens Kicks Off!

2017 started with a creative kick, as artists arrived at five Barking and Dagenham schools to work with young people and teachers on the Cultural Citizens programme. 

This initiative from The Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and funded by Arts Council England is a pilot project that will give young people in areas of low cultural engagement across England, increased access to arts and culture. The team at Studio 3 Arts and Creative Barking & Dagenham are delighted to be delivering the London pilot which has been commissioned by A New Direction in partnership with the Barking and Dagenham Cultural Education Partnership. 

The weekly sessions are now under way with drama, games, discussions, photography and suitcases featuring highly as everyone starts to get to know each other. As well as using their artistic practice with the young people, the artists have been exploring what barriers young people feel there are to accessing culture. These have included money, travel time, peer pressure, discrimination and lack of knowledge. For many travel is an issue and for one young person on the project, the visits to cultural institutions on the project will be the first time they have left the borough. 

Our school partners are Dagenham Park Church of England School, Eastbrook Comprehensive School, Eastbury Comprehensive School, Robert Clack School and The Sydney Russell School. Cultural Citizens is a large collaborative project; our team, a team of teachers, an arts award advisor and eight artists deliver the programme which includes supporting young people to gain their Bronze Arts Awards.

Our artist team has been recruited with from young people on the project. Thank you to Eastbrook School for supporting this process.   Our artists are:

Lead Artists: Brian Taylor, Emily Bray, Kirsty Reynolds, Pedro Vaz and Tim Cowbury
Support Artists: John Akinde and Sharlene Carter
Documentation Artist: Saira Awan

In school, the following teachers are also supporting the delivery of the project – Dilem Guven, Jenni Lewis, Esin Guven, Margaret Bainbridge, Aaliyah Burns, Sam Steele, Jordan Jiggins, Chris Wall, Kerry Hallahan, Aminah Adeyemi, Mahfuza Ferdous, Sam Butler and Sinead McTigue.

Cultural Citizens is Project Managed by Steven Smith for Studio 3 Arts, with support from Helen Ball at Creative Barking & Dagenham to make trips and visits happen. If you are an organisation who has an offer open to young people in Barking & Dagenham and would like more info on this project, please get in touch. 

To keep up to date with whats happen with Cultural Citizens search #culturalcitizensLDN across all social media platforms. 

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Studio 3 Arts © 2015 Registered Charity Number: 1054793 Company Number: 3177640