Hansel & Gretel took place at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester in February 2015.

It was our biggest production to date and brought together professional opera singers and school children from six primary and secondary schools in Essex and Suffolk performing to full houses over four performances.

You can see the Hansel and Gretel programme here.

You can purchase a DVD of our production of Hansel and Gretel, the cost of the DVD is £10. Email us if you would like to purchase a copy.

It formed part of The Pimlott Foundation’s aim to bring together aspiring performers with professionals, and promote concerts and live music, while also delivering an educational programme, supporting performing arts in East Anglia.

Arts and Education Partners

The project involved both professional and non-professional artists creating a high quality production of the opera that actively engaged a range of arts and education partners in the local area – Essex Music Hub, Mercury Theatre, a professional orchestra, 3 rural primary schools:
Langham Primary School, Chase Lane Primary School, Harwich and Stratford St Mary Primary School as well as 3 Essex secondary schools: Tendring Technology College, Thomas Lord Audley School, Thurstable School, Tiptree – producing an opera that allowed young performers to work alongside professional musicians and actors and deliver outreach music activity to local schools.

Funding and Sponsorship

We were fortunate to have received funding from Arts Council England, D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Belinda Starling Fund, Hervey Benham Charitable Trust and the Essex Music Services Hub as well as sponsorship from Birkett Long, Church Street Tavern and generous donations from The Friends of the Pimlott Foundation. We were also incredibly happy to welcome Rosalind Plowright OBE as the patron for Hansel and Gretel. Rosalind performed the part of Mother in Hansel and Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

The aims of the project were:

  • To introduce opera into schools and communities thus addressing a large gap in provision.
  • To involve 3 rural Essex Primary Schools and 3 secondary schools with little previous experience of live opera
  • To link amateur and professional musicians of all ages – choirs, orchestras and soloists.
  • To develop a sustainable educational project linked to the production including the formation of a young people’s choir.

By working with the Mercury Theatre, the young people were able to experience performing in a local, professional auditorium.