Scottish Opera New Primary Schools Production Goes on Tour 

On 23 February, Scottish Opera’s newly-commissioned primary schools tour production,The Last Aliens, begins its tour around Scotland, visiting schools across the country from Glasgow through the Highlands to Orkney.

Scottish Opera’s Education and Outreach Department has been working in Primary Schools for 50 years, and teachers from schools which have already taken part agree that the tour broadened the children’s cultural experiences, improved team work skills, increased cultural confidence as well as singing ability.

As the pandemic resulted in the Company’s last Primary School Tour of Warriors! The Emperor’s IncredibleArmycoming to a halt in March 2020, with the Education team instead offering an online children’s opera entitled Fever!, they are delighted to be back in schools to again offer in- person workshops. 

The Last Aliens, composed by Alan Penman with lyrics by Ross Stenhouse, is an intergalactic adventure for primary 5 to 7 pupils about saving Planet Earth. During the show, pupils will learn in their own classrooms, after which the Scottish Opera Teaching Artists team arrive at the school for a morning to teach movement and choreography to prepare for a 30-minute performance in front of fellow pupils, friends and family. In a normal year, close to 9,000 children across Scotland take part in these performances with many more thousands of friends and families coming to see them perform.

Teachers can sign up to access The Last Aliens online teaching resources to work through with their pupils. This programme of activities includes audio and video teaching aids, as well as a series of practical tasks and exercises grouped into three categories: Watch The Earth, Explore The Science and Understand The Opera.

Director of Education and Outreach at Scottish Opera Jane Davidson said “This is a completely new hybrid approach to our longest running project; the Primary Schools Opera tour – which we are incredibly proud to bring back to schools in this 50th anniversary year of Scottish Opera’s education programme. Through engaging directly with our artists – first online and then in ‘real life’, the pupils can experience the excitement of rehearsing and performing a meaningful and funny musical story as well as exploring this crucially important subject matter across a range of key areas in the core curriculum. As ever, our intention is to demonstrate what an effective learning and teaching tool the art form of opera is, with this unique blend of science, technology, literacy, communication skills and responsible citizenship – all connected by creativity.”

All The Last Aliens introductory and teaching films feature members of the Company’s Primary Schools team in character as the crew of the SOE (Scottish Orbital Expedition) craft that has been tasked with monitoring the Earth’s Global Climate Change and gathering data on the impact this is having on the natural environment. By completing all the tasks and activities, the pupils can contribute their new found knowledge towards helping to build the case for convincing world leaders that immediate action is required to reverse the damage.

For more details about The Last Aliens, please visit www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/opera-for-schools/the-last-aliens/

Irene Brown

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