Dunbeg children star in Scottish Opera’s Fever!

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Youngsters from Dunbeg Primary School were getting super excited this week, not only about returning to school, but because they became YouTube stars.

Over five weeks the children were able to use online learning resources to learn the songs and dance moves to Fever!, as well as take part in other activities such as costume and prop making, culminating in a performance that was streamed live on Scottish Opera’s YouTube channel and attracted nearly 200 families.

The children were then asked to send in videos and pictures of them joining in at home, which Scottish Opera has now made in to a special video alongside their own team’s performers.

The show, which was first performed by Scottish Opera in 2011, features music by Alan Penman and lyrics by Allan Dunn.
A staple of many Scottish schools’ calendars, this is the first time an online version of the tour has been made available, bringing the funny and fast-moving story to living rooms up and down the country, culminating in a nationwide virtual performance at the end of June.

Until June 15, audio teaching tracks and videos, lyrics and activity materials, covering topics including creative writing, science experiments and tips on how to make props and costumes from home, were posted on the Scottish Opera website. These featured seasoned Primary Schools Tour cast members Lucy Hutcheson and Alan McKenzie, who built on existing teaching materials by making new recordings from home during lockdown.

Illustrations were by Iain Piercy. Teachers were able to use the resources as part of their weekly activities with classes, as were parents for use by their children at home,.
Fever! takes pupils on an exciting journey, learning the benefits that biomedical science offers humanity, looking at the basic mechanics of the human body, infections and viruses, and exploring the impact of press and media on today’s society, including fake news. It designed to help teachers deliver core elements of the Curriculum of Excellence such as social studies, history, technologies, literacy and citizenship.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson said: ‘For people of all ages who think opera plot lines can’t be relevant to the present day, there isn’t a more powerful example of the benefits using music and the other expressive arts to support cross curricular education, than Scottish Opera’s Primary Schools opera; Fever!

‘In the context of the current pandemic, and updated and adapted for online participation, the subject matter is perfectly balanced between a fantastical and accessible musical story that youngsters (whether at home or still at school) can enjoy interacting with, underpinned by an age appropriate message explaining the principles of microbiology and virology.

‘Added to which, is the opportunity to help our children and young people explore the increasingly worrying phenomenon known as ‘fake news’.

‘Equipping them with the skills to recognise and challenge fake news is widely acknowledged as a key coping mechanism for life in the 21st century, and it’s all wrapped up in one funny and fact-filled opera experience.’