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Richard, Rebekah & Peter
Percussion, Junior Guildhall

Richard, Rebekah & Peter
Monday 5 July at 6:00pm

ResearchWorks: The Making of Henny Penny

Henny Penny

Research, ResearchWorks

The Making of Henny Penny: A translingual opera project for primary schools, combining music and foreign language learning through opera

Professor Stephen Plaice (Writer in Residence, Guildhall School)
Professor Julian Philips (Head of Composition, Guildhall School)

This event is presented in association with the Institute for Social Impact Research in the Performing Arts

Henny Penny is a new participatory children’s opera, developed by composer Julian Philips and writer Stephen Plaice, that offers Primary School children an immersive experience in both music and modern languages, within an operatic context.

The work developed out of an AHRC funded Open World Research Initiative programme - Cross-Language dynamics: reshaping community - as a creative response to the rise of linguaphobia in the context of Brexit (Matras, 2016), and the reduction in Modern Language and music provision within UK education contexts. The opera explores synergies between opera-in-education and ML learning, allowing children a formative experience in both. Henny Penny enriches participants' understanding of the world, through an engagement with languages, and the cultures they represent.

Henny Penny is informed by existing models of participatory opera, with a particular focus on language: Dove's multilingual Monster in the Maze (2015), or Philips' bilingual English-Welsh operas Dolffin (2005) and Wild Cat (2006). As with the Dove, Henny Penny broadens out from English to parallel linguistic versions in French (Cocotte Chocotte), German (Hennig Pfennig), Spanish (Pollita Chiquita) and Italian, the deployment of each version contingent on a school's educational context.

This ResearchWorks presentation will explore the making of Henny Penny - its broad research context, the collaborative creative process that informed its creation, and the scope of its potential impact on Primary School cross-curricular learning in Music and Modern Languages. Philips and Plaice will also share extracts from a new animated version of Henny Penny created during lockdown to enrich the project’s supporting resources. 

Online Seminar

Admission free but booking required

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