Royal Opera Trailblazers at Chadwell St Mary make their mark

FOURTEEN students from Royal Opera House Thurrock Trailblazer school Chadwell St Mary Primary visited the Kinetika studios at the High House Production Park in Purfleet on Wednesday 9 May to take part in a print workshop.

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The workshop was led by artist Lisa Meehan with Kinetika’s Jane Ford and involved the children learning about food and recipes from around the world and how to cut and use printing blocks to create interesting designs. The workshop was part of the first phase of Kinetika’s two-year project Kitchen Table, which is happening in Thurrock and Southend. Kitchen Table aims to explore and celebrate Thurrock’s diverse population, through recipes.

Jane Ford was delighted by the hard work and creativity of the young people: ‘We had a really good start to the day with shared stories and favourite foods from across the globe. We were educated by the children themselves with information about egg fried rice and taught how to use chop sticks. The salt fish dish from Jamaica also stands out and dumplings from Poland and pancakes from Lithuania along with foods from Romania and Italy. Tasting some unusual vegetables as well set us up for celebrating all the differences as well as similarities in what we like – Lisa’s mum’s Tottenham cake went down a storm!

All this was before we even started drawing and printing. Lisa encouraged the children to transfer their ideas into artwork and print with different inks and tools onto a variety of surfaces. The children went home with cardboard lunchboxes, calico aprons, cloth bags, paper bags and board aprons and bowls decorated in their wonderful, colourful work. We anticipate they will enjoy talking more about of their favourite foods and sharing recipes in a variety of different ways – hopefully with other members of their classes.

Katie Cullender, class teacher at Chadwell St Mary Primary said: ‘What an excellent, engaging and exciting workshop! It provided children with the opportunity to use a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to sketch and print with. I believe what engaged the children the most was that they were able to take home hand printed aprons with their own designs on. Alongside this, they were given the opportunity to design and make their own lunchboxes. Comments from the children included: ‘This was the best day ever!’, ‘ I’m so excited to take home my apron, then I can bake with Nan’, ‘ I can’t wait to use my lunchbox at school, I can tell everyone how I made all the different patterns on it.’ ‘ Tasting the fruit was so exciting, some of it I had never tried before. I was very brave!’ ‘

Royal Opera House Thurrock Trailblazer provides pupils with access to high quality arts and culture activities provided by Royal Opera House and other cultural organizations. Working with the ROH Learning and Participation team each school creates a yearlong calendar of cross-curricular creative activities that is tailored to their school’s needs. The programme can include any art form such as: creative writing, visual arts and design, drama, dance, music, singing, film and photography. Registration for 2018/19 is now open. To find out more and to register your school for ROH Thurrock Trailblazer, please email thurrock.trailblazer@roh.org.uk or go to www.roh.org.uk/trailblazer

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