Free digital creative learning connects regional and remote students to Sydney Opera House
Sydney – Wednesday, 11 November 2020. The Sydney Opera House has unveiled its 2021 Digital Creative Learning program featuring exclusive talks with award-winning artists and authors Andy Griffiths and Maxine Beneba Clarke as well as a rich program of workshops and virtual tours to take place in the first half of next year.
Available for free to all Australian public school students and linked to the primary and secondary curriculum, the pioneering initiative opens up a virtual gateway for students from regional and remote schools to access the Opera House’s bold and inspiring program of artists and ideas.
With more than 33 bestselling books and over 10 million copies sold nationally, Andy Griffiths (Treehouse series) will explore his inspirations, writing habits and favourite tricks for storytelling in an artist talk (16 March). Maxine Beneba Clarke (The Hate Race, When We Say Black Lives Matter, Wide Big World, The Patchwork Bike) will share her experience as a storyteller as well as her passion for words, books and libraries in a special talk (18 June) that will celebrate individuality and diversity, providing school students with personal insight into what it means to be black in today’s world.
The ever-popular Staging Stories (17 March) will dive headfirst into Martin Waddell’s beloved Pig in the Pond. Two brand new workshops will also be led by local artists - Spoken Word Poetry (19 March) will feature Bankstown Poetry Slam storyteller Bilal Hafda teaching young wordsmiths how to lift words off the page. In Clowning around with Beatboxing and Mime (17 June), multidisciplinary artist and musician Holly Austin will show students how to clown to their own beats.
In 2020, two new interactive Zoom workshops were developed by the Opera House while the majority of students were home learning due to COVID-19. These proved popular with 86 sessions reaching 1,571 students from 117 schools in less than two months. Next year, this innovative approach to digital learning will continue with Hunting for Inspiration, an interactive scavenger hunt adventure where students collect household objects to inspire imaginative new narratives. Choose Your Own Improv Adventure will also invite students to invent their way through a captivating 1930’s mystery, hosted via Zoom.
Virtual tours will allow students to visit the Opera House and its surrounds. Places and Spaces of Sydney Opera House explores the building’s ins and outs, including its First Nations history, with behind-the-scenes insights into architect Jørn Utzon’s design principles, and how live performances are brought together. In addition, Aboriginal Perspectives of Bennelong Point - Guwanyi Walama takes students on an interactive adventure into the 65,000 year history of Bennelong Point, the land on which the Opera House stands.
Sydney Opera House Head of Digital Programming, Stuart Buchanan said: “The Digital Creative Learning program forges direct connections between regional areas and the Sydney Opera House, opening up exciting new pathways from remote classrooms to extraordinary, unmissable experiences beneath the sails, using the latest digital technology.”
Sydney Opera House Head of Children, Families and Creative Learning, Tamara Harrison said: “Through this free program, students get up close and personal with our nation’s most renowned artistic voices, and get access to cutting edge performances, workshops and tours. All of the resources are designed to perfectly align with the New South Wales curriculum and to augment the learning experience in a way that keeps students challenged, informed and delighted.”
For New South Wales primary school classrooms equipped with Virtual Reality Kits, Digital Dinos offers a fun and educational jump into stem.T4L Community Kits teleporting students to prehistoric times using the incredible puppets from Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo.
Digital Creative Learning Teacher Technology Afternoons (16 and 23 February) are available for teachers and home schoolers preparing for their first digital teaching experiences, with two afternoon info sessions to troubleshoot technology set up and access.