NEW Children's Opera

The Way Through The Woods


Barefoot Opera invite your primary school to be part of an exciting new children's opera INspired by
the grimm brothers' classic tale red riding hood



Composer & Librettist

Artistic Director

Musical Director

School Liaison





We are currently fundraising for this project and are confident of achieving enough funding to make this project completely FREE for participating schools



Opera is the ultimate theatre experience; a form of storytelling that brings together the best aspects of all performing and visual arts. Staging an opera allows children to use words, music, and dance, and even create sets and costume. We want to help your children create their own opera and discover a new world: opera isn’t something for them to be fearful of. It’s one of the most team-driven, fun ways to get involved in performing and making music. Opera is dressing up, dancing around, creating crazy sounds, singing at the top of your voice! In spring 2019 Barefoot Opera will be premiering a brand new children’s opera, The Way through the Woods. Based on the story of Red Riding Hood, The Way Through the Woods is a musical adventure full of fun that also explores issues relevant to this age group: independence; making choices, overcoming difficulties and self-doubt; and relationships and unique bonds between different age groups, such as children and their grandparents. The most important elements of the opera are the ideas and imaginations of children themselves. Jenny Miller (director) and Lucy Mulgan (composer) are creating this 30-45 minute show specifically to give primary school children the opportunity to create some of the music and to perform an opera alongside professional singers and musicians.


We want every child to get the most of this experience. The project is aimed at its core to the older KS1 and the younger KS2 children. However, age range and group sizes are adaptable and exactly which year groups and how many students will take part can be decided by each school with guidance from Barefoot Opera. For example, if your school would like to have years 5-6 involved in the opera, we would focus more on the emotional subtext of the ancient fairy tale and put a surreal and darker twist on the drama. The children could work with the project outside of the workshops by comparing and analysing different versions of the fairy tale from around the world, writing a blog post in the character of Red Riding Hood or creating a web page for the project. For the younger children, the project could be used as a springboard for developing ideas further, for example through literacy or art and design. Depending on how each school wishes to approach and use the project, it can cut across the curriculum, incorporating literacy, PSHE, music, art and design, science, geography and even mathematics (measuring up for stage design and costumes, working on budgeting or calculating possible revenue from voluntary donations towards the show from the audience). The children could design posters and tickets for the show, write diary entries or newspaper reports and reviews of the show for the school newsletter. They could look at woodland settings and explore which animals, plants, trees and soil types they are likely to discover and how woodland settings vary around the world depending on climate and other variable factors. All characters played by children will be created and performed in small groups rather than as individuals. For example, The Wolf will be played by a professional singer, but this character’s inner thoughts will be portrayed by the children, divided into groups – the “good” voice, the “bad” voice and the comedic voice. This kind of group singing will ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity in taking part. Every child will also be able to take part in creating props, sets and costumes for the performance and their characters. With this project we not only hope to give access to opera for primary school children who would perhaps not normally be exposed to opera or ever get to work with real professional singers, musicians and directors. We also want to encourage collaborative work, self-confidence and expression, empathy, listening skills and problem solving.


The process of making, rehearsing and performing this opera with your school will consist of two three-hour sessions about one month apart. Both sessions will involve all the children who want to participate as well as the full Barefoot Opera team. The first session (Preparation Day) will include: Jenny Miller leading workshops on developing the children’s singing, drama and movement around the themes and ideas of the opera. The musicians and singers helping the children to learn some of the composed songs and working with them to create new songs to appear in the opera. Jenny Miller running a workshop on making sets and costumes.

The second session (Performance Day) will include: Rehearsal – a two hour rehearsal session with all the children taking part. PERFORMANCE! All parents, teachers and staff will be invited to watch the children perform in their very own opera with the professional Barefoot Opera team.

In addition to these two main workshop sessions, Barefoot Opera will also be doing an initial short (1 hour or so) work shops with the participating schools during Spring 2018. During these workshops, we will explore the themes of the opera and Lucy Mulgan (composer) will collect ideas from the children to be weaved into the composing of the opera. Barefoot Opera can work with you to plan any further activities between the two main professional workshop sessions. Depending on the classroom time you have available, these activities could include practicing the music they have learned and making sets and costumes. Barefoot Opera will provide all backing tracks and learning materials. We will also bring a full set and provide simple costumes. Your school will not be expected to provide expensive or complicated set designs or costumes. However, each school may wish to add to the set and create additional props, costumes and elements of the stage design. This can all be planned with Barefoot Opera in preparation for the workshops. We believe we can offer your children an exciting experience that allows them to work together as a team to help create and perform their very own opera! We hope you’ll be interested in coming on this adventure with us.