Dean Crooks Fold Make An Opera

29 January 2015

Tenants from Fold Housing Association's Dean Crooks Fold joined with  pupils from Strandtown Primary School to create a performance of music and song inspired by the Window on the World display at the Ulster Museum. They will be performing their Opera at the Ulster Museum, 12.45pm, Tuesday 3 February.

The project entitled ˜Let's Make An Opera'' is a joint venture with Arts Care, National Museums Northern Ireland and the Public Health Agency. It is part of the "Here and Now" festival which celebrates the Arts of Ageing Well.

Live & Learn teams at the Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and Ulster American Folk Park are working with groups of older adults in creative workshops using music, movement and song inspired by the collections of each museum.

The Ulster Museum performance by the children and older people was inspired by some of the Museum's collection including a Celtic high cross, a Native American totem pole and a Sri Lankan dance mask. The project also included creative sessions facilitated by composer Elaine Agnew and drama practitioner Charmaine McBride from Arts Care's team of professional artists.

Ruth Osborne from the Live and Learn team at National Museums Northern Ireland said, 'There is enormous value in projects like this one.  As well as sharing many laughs and exchanging stories as we explore some of the museum's collection, we also found this to be a very stimulating time for the group. We are involved in numerous projects like this one and participants find it most beneficial. 

Arts Care CEO and Artistic Director, Dr Jenny Elliott said, "This is one of the many exciting Here & Now projects that will take place between January and March across Northern Ireland. The ˜Let's Make An Opera'' project offers young children and the older people the opportunity to visit the museum together, some perhaps for the first time. The festival is really about enhancing older people's well-being through quality arts engagement and Arts Care is delighted to be partnering the Ulster Museum in this life enhancing project. What has struck me has been the curiosity of the young children and the ease with which they encourage the older people to join in the music, drama and song-writing. It is an ambitious project but having skilled facilitators Elaine and Charmaine on board with the largest Irish Wolfhound and the Totem Pole will make this an ˜opera'' not to be missed!

The project culminated in a performance devised by pupils and tenants using music, song and movement inspired by the folklore and legends represented by the Museum's Collections.

P7 pupil Jonathan Robinson from Strandtown Primary School said the best thing about the project is writing songs and performing; "It has been so much fun to learn about objects at the Ulster Museum and then use what we have been taught to create a special performance. It has also been good to work on a project with people who are much older than us."

Monica Simpson, who is a tenant at  Fold Housing Association's Dean Crooks Fold on the Upper Newtownards Road, said, 'This has been such a lovely project to be involved in. The Strandtown P7s have been absolutely delightful “ so engaging and entertaining.

Pictured above: Rev Joe Mooney (97 years young!) with pupils from Strandtown Primary School who took part in the Let's Make an Opera performance at  the Ulster Museum this week.

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