Diggin Opera II will broadcast on Sunday, April 25. Drawing by Chloe Woo
Limerick Educate Together collaborate on international project Diggin Opera II
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Tara Byrne
Second-year students at Limerick Educate Together Secondary School (LETSS) are currently engaged in an international collaborative project called Diggin Opera II produced by the Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden, Germany. At the heart of the project are the students from Limerick Educate Together Secondary School with their teacher Norma Lowney, and the Oken-Gymnasium, Offenburg, with their teacher, Rebecca Tüttelmann.
The starting point for the cooperation between the two schools was the poem ‘The Second Coming’ by William Butler Yeats. This musical theatre education project investigates to what extent digital technologies can awaken young people’s enthusiasm for, and interest in, musical theatre. The project’s core themes are participation, innovation, and digitalisation.
The student’s art teacher Norma, explained, “Our students are designing the virtual reality set and lending their faces and voices to digital avatars and layered audio experiments.”
She added, “My students have been exploring the world of virtual reality, using their bodies in movement to create free-flowing 3D drawings. They have also been using apps on their iPads to paint and draw onto preconstructed mock-ups of the Festspielhaus which will form the virtual reality set.”
There is a wonderful team involved in the project. Dr Dany Weyer is the Head of Participation at Festspielhaus and is producing the project, while the “CyberRäuber” (Cyber Bandits), Björn Lengers and Marcel Karnapke, experts in the field of virtual reality, are responsible for the artistic direction.
Rob Doornbos, a drama educator and director, works with the student participants in both countries, in his capacity as project coordinator and Micha Kaplan is the musical composer, with Dana Marbach (soprano), Tom Kellner (cello), and Merav Goldman (horn), providing musical support for the performance. The project is funded by The Felicitas und Werner Egerland Stiftung.
“The team and I have been collaborating since October on this fascinating project. The students were introduced to the German team prior to the Winter holidays and we began in earnest after Christmas. We have been working remotely,” enthuses Norma.
She added, “I feel that our collective focus on this project has been a great distraction from the worries of the world. It has allowed us to tune out and tune into the creative process. It’s an exciting process, and, with the difficulties posed by the pandemic to live theatre and the arts more broadly, I think experiments of this nature are necessary and perhaps inevitable. It is wonderful to see the students so engaged with, connected, and enjoying the process.”
Second-year LETSS student, Martyna Czaicka, said, “I think the project is inspiring. It is making me think differently. I’ve been creating monsters with tentacles in VR- It’s really fun!”
Principal Eoin Shinners added, “Limerick ETSS places significant emphasis on the creative arts and the ‘Diggin’ Opera II’ project is a wonderful and unique initiative which despite the lockdown, has provided our students and their art teacher Norma Lowney with an array of opportunities to work collaboratively and create something really special. The creative arts are the qualities of human experience. They can inspire students at many levels. In Limerick ETSS, we are striving through initiatives like ‘Diggin’ Opera II’ to bring out the best in our students as individuals and help develop the competencies they need to make their way in the world.”
The show will be broadcast to a live, but virtual, audience on Sunday, April 25. Details about the performance and how to access it will be available on the LETSS website HERE in the lead up to the performance.
To access the live performance go HERE
For more stories on LETSS go HERE