Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Little Thurrock Primary student praised in Royal Opera House competition

TALENTED young designer Mahdi Hassan from Lansbury Lawrence Primary School in Poplar, East London is the winner of the Royal Opera House Design and Make Competition for Primary Schools.

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He was presented with his prize by Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden on Thursday 23 May when Madhi and his whole class attended the School’s Matinée of Romeo and Juliet.

Over 800 Key Stage 2 children from 14 schools took part in the project which launched as a pilot for primary schools only last year. The competition asked them to design the set for a scene in Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet. Over ten weeks, they worked through the six stages of design, developing their model-making skills and experimenting with different ideas and materials. Teachers from the schools then reviewed their portfolios and model boxes to choose 22 finalists, and their work was submitted to the Royal Opera House for judging.

Mahdi produced an innovative design of a modern market place for the ballet. The judges said of his work: ‘A colourful and vibrant design that skilfully mixes the old and the new and is highly suitable for ballet performance. His drawing and painting is brilliantly detailed and the various buildings give the stage a good sense of depth. The judges also liked the little details such as modern cctv cameras and the fried chicken shop that Mahdi included to bring this market place up to date for the audience. A highly imaginative set that could be used for a performance of Romeo and Juliet, well done Mahdi.’

The judges also highly commended the work of Charlie Bartolo from Little Thurrock Primary School in Thurrock for his intricately illustrated design which he based on an Egyptian market place.

Teachers can register an interest for 2019/20 Primary Design and Make competition by emailing or go to for more details.


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