Scottish Opera Takes The Curse Of Maccabbra Opera House to Primary Schools 

This February, Scottish Opera (SO) begins its sold-out tour around Scotland of its primary schools’ production,The Curse of MacCabbra Opera House, which for the very first time, is also available for £100 as a digital only learning and teaching experience.

Schools can take part in the project two ways: as a digital only learning and teaching experience using online resources provided by SO to prepare pupils for all aspects of presenting a performance to an audience, or a hybrid digital and live learning and teaching experience for up to 100 pupils. If schools choose the hybrid version, on the morning of the workshop, SO’s team of specialists will spend time working with pupils to rehearse and perform a show in their school for performance complete with fabulous costumes.

The online resources are available now from SO’s website and provide everything teachers need to prepare their pupils for a performance in their own school. They can simply download a PDF of the lyrics and score, videos and audio files to rehearse the songs and dance moves. These include easy-to-follow teaching aids for the five songs in The Curse of MacCabbra Opera House, alongside fun curriculum-based learning activities that can be carried out in class, assigned as homework or used for assessment purposes. Learning activities will cover marketing and publicity, ticket pricing, letting children try their hand at creative writing and costume design, giving them an insight into all the different work that goes on behind the scenes to bring an opera to the stage, and helping build excitement for their performance day.

For over 50 years, SO’s Education and Outreach programme has featured in Primary Schools with teachers from schools that have already taken part agreeing that the tour broadened the children’s cultural experiences, improved teamwork skills, increased cultural confidence as well as singing ability, while supporting the aims of Curriculum for Excellence.

SO Director of Education and Outreach Jane Davidson MBE said “Scottish Opera is delighted to announce an exciting new development to their awarding winning Primary Schools programme: Curse of MacCabbra Opera House also gives pupils the opportunity to explore many other front of house and backstage activities that are an essential part of creating a successful show, making Scottish Opera’s primary tour one of the most integrated cross curricular learning experiences in the school calendar.

“We’re thrilled …to introduce this creepy and kooky opera to second level pupils across the country …. Located in a gloomy Highland glen, the long forgotten MacCabbra Opera House’s doors are creaking open once more to welcome a new generation of young performers. Come up with us if you dare; meet the mysterious Madame Dee Parton and the cast and company of the opera as they race to stage a new opera before the sun comes up!”

The 30-minute gothic horror opera for P5-P7, that features music from composer Alan Penman and lyrics from quick fire wordsmith and director Johnny McKnight, will be performed until June in schools all over Scotland, as well as in five Newcastle primaries.

For more details about The Curse of MacCabbra OperaHouse, visit

Irene Brown

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