Royal Opera House school music project staged on island

Two Tree Island
Image caption Two Tree Island is more used to nesting birds than musical performances

A new musical work created by schoolchildren working with the Royal Opera House is to be performed on an island along the Thames Estuary in Essex.

'Songs of the Marsh' will be performed by over 150 pupils from four Southend primary schools on Two Tree Island, near Leigh-on-Sea, on 20 July.

The performance is part of the Royal Opera House's 'Creative Partnership' education scheme.

The children have spent three months working on the lyrics, music and props.

The songs have been inspired by a short story written in the 1940s by American author Paul Gallico and is set on an East Essex marsh.

'Atmospheric setting'

It will be performed on the 640-acre (259 hectare) island, which is managed by Essex Wildlife Trust and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The performance is one of several artistic projects, involving 120 schools in the Thames Gateway, being run by the Royal Opera House Education in Thurrock scheme.

Creative schools manager, Jo Smith, said the musical performance had been a "unique and ambitious" project.

She said: "As far as we are aware, it will be the first time this space has been used as a setting for a musical performance.

"It is their own interpretation of The Snow Goose story, written with them, not just for them, and staged in a local atmospheric setting that relates to the story."

Those factors made the project "particularly exciting and unique", she said.

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