Thurrock students work with Royal Opera House and Firstsite Gallery

Screenshot 2019-01-23 at 09.17.25

ROYAL Opera House Thurrock Trailblazer schools have welcomed a variety of artists from Colchester’s Firstsite gallery over the past months to teach students about different art forms and techniques.

Firstsite artists involved in workshops in Thurrock schools have been textile artist Clare Sams, figure painter Sally Delany, multi-media artist Elaine Tribley and Nicola Burrell who explores ways to manipulate various materials into large scale structures, Clare Iles who works in multi-coloured drawing and sculpture, and printed textile artist Jacqueline Davies who has a passion for mid-century inspired art. They have visited Lansdowne Primary Academy, Purfleet Primary Academy, the Ockenden Academy and Stifford Clays Primary School.

Students from Palmer’s College also had a visit from Sally Delany, who ran two bespoke sessions with them to explore figure drawing from a live model. The 20 students used charcoal and pencil to portray the characterful face of the sitter, while learning about scale and perspective in a studio setting.

Cody Gray, Teacher of Photography, USP College – Palmer’s College said ‘Sally was great at catering to all the needs of the students within the groups that took part. Some had never done life drawing before, but those that started the session with some hesitation concluded with new skills and some fantastic drawings they could be proud of. Bringing in a real artist to work with the aspiring artists in my class was a great way for students to see what the possibilities are for their futures. All in all, a fantastic opportunity for the students. We can’t wait for our next one!’
The inclusion of Firstsite as a partner on the Royal Opera House Thurrock Trailblazer programme has proved very popular with schools, with 18 primary and secondary sessions running to widen students’ understanding of and opportunity to engage with visual arts, with many schools choosing to work collaboratively across year groups.

Amy Williams, Firstsite’s Programme Organiser, Learning and Education said:
‘Firstsite are thrilled to have been included in the Thurrock Trailblazer catalogue and it has been a great opportunity to work creatively with so many schools and colleges in Thurrock.’

The academic year 2018/19 is the first year the gallery has been a cultural partner on the Royal Opera House Thurrock Trailblazer programme. It is offering Trailblazer schools the opportunity to visit the gallery in Colchester as part of a ‘Learning to Look’ session as well as creating bespoke ‘Offsite’ sessions that happen in-school.

Royal Opera House Thurrock Trailblazer provides pupils with access to high quality arts and culture activities provided by the Royal Opera House and other cultural organizations. Working with the Royal Opera House 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.

To find out more about Royal Opera House Thurrock Trailblazer, please email or go to

Photographed by Grace Price

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.