Creative Voices

Creative Voices is a collaboration between the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg. It is an Arts and Culture training programme designed to assist teachers to implement integrated arts projects in schools. These projects operate in an entirely democratic manner, with the learners making all the decisions in the play-making process, and culminate in the performance of original pieces of music theatre created and performed solely by the learners.

Creative Voices has been hailed by the teachers we have trained as “the best course they have ever attended”. Teachers who have been in the profession for years cannot believe how they find their entire careers rejuvenated as a result of being introduced to the Creative Voices programme. The skills and approach espoused by the project filter through into all aspects of classroom life, meaning that the benefits are felt on a more holistic level as well.

According to Darryl Jaffray (Director of Education and Access: Royal Opera House) “Creative Voices, has produced many, quite extraordinary outcomes. It has taken Royal Opera House personnel into Soweto schools and established an Arts and Culture training programme for South African teachers. It has enabled South African learners to work alongside children from many other countries at the World Music Education Conference in Norway. But the true value of the project lies in its long-term benefits. The generosity of the Donald Gordon Foundation in funding exchange visits between South African and British artists and in supporting the foundation of an office base at the National School of the Arts for Creative Voices, ensures that artists and teachers will continue to be able to pool their expertise and to share this knowledge with future generations of South African learners.”

David Stevenson (Project Co-ordinator: Creative Voices) says “We as Creative Voices Course Leaders feel privileged to be working on the project and are deeply grateful for the opportunity of making a profound impact on the lives of the individuals we train, the learners they in turn work with and the education and Arts and Culture heritage of this country in general.”
David Stevenson continues: “The Foundation has been particularly generous – not only financially, but also in terms of trusting us to work with their funding in the way we believe to be the most effective. The balance they have struck between being “hands-on” enough for us to know that they really care, but “hands-off” enough for us to feel trusted and empowered, is something which we as the Creative Voices team value hugely.”