School of Education

Laura and Polly at Glyndebourne

Glyndebourne partnership for PGCE students

The Art and Design PGCE course at the University of Brighton has worked in partnership with the education team at Glyndebourne Opera for several years.

In October each year, Glyndebourne invite students and the course team to attend the performance for schools opera, which is part of their tour programme.  The performance introduces young people from local schools to live opera and the associated arts.

They also run an opera workshop for our Art and Design and Modern Foreign Languages PGCE students, both at Glyndebourne and at the Falmer campus. The workshop picks up on elements of the tour opera production and alongside directors, performers and musicians, trainees are encouraged to think about and engage with aspects of performance and creative approaches. This helps with voice projection, confidence in standing up in front of a class and audience, working collaboratively, taking risks and introducing innovative creative and engaging starting points to classroom teaching and learning.

Alongside the festival programme, Glyndebourne also offer an artist teacher residency programme for two trainees from the Art and Design PGCE at Brighton. This is a fabulous opportunity and the successful trainees are given the chance to produce artwork inspired by their experiences of working at Glyndebourne, watching the festival opera programme and meeting various people involved with both the production and performance. They are also introduced to the wider remit of the work undertaken by the education team at Glyndebourne.

The residency gives the artist teachers enormous scope and autonomy to develop their practice, to engage with other creatives and inspire ideas and artwork that they can take forward into their schools in their own teaching career.

2020 was very different and the festival was sadly cancelled due to the impact of Covid-19. Glyndebourne were able to provide weekly streaming of operas, engaging artwork learning materials for young people, they opened the garden up for visits and had outdoor performances for guests.

They generously kept the residency offer going and two trainees were able to be involved during the summer of 2020, when they had completed their PGCE and before both took up jobs teaching Art and Design in local schools in September.

Laura Andrews (right in main image) and Polly Baker (left) were the successful applicants to the residency in 2020.

Polly said: “Coming from a fine art background I was really excited to get stuck into the residency programme at Glyndebourne.

“Whilst drawing from a paused television is by no means the same experience as sitting in the audience at a live opera, the freedom of being able to press the pause button did mean I was able to inspect every single detail of the set, and revisit the scenes I adored the most.

“As the weather got warmer I felt it was necessary to make more work outdoors and as the gardens at Glyndebourne were in full bloom it gave me the chance to create some lively, colourful landscapes.

“I aimed to encapsulate the vibrancy of the gardens in my work, creating something playful and spontaneous, using every type of media I had to create a feeling of beautiful chaos.”

Laura said: I was inspired by all of the operas that I was able to watch at home for example, the set design from ‘The marriage of Figaro’ and the patterns, costume and set designs from ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ and the magical world from ‘L’enfant et les sortileges’.

“I have explored collage, multimedia painting and Gelli printing and have naturally progressed on to a selection of fabric pieces which develop these techniques and machine and hand embroidery to show my view of the Gardens.

“I see this as a starting point in creating my style and have loved having the opportunity to develop my own way of working.”

Polly and Laura have now graduated and we wish them every success as they embark on their teaching careers. We look forward to working with Glyndebourne again in 2021.

All images © Glyndebourne Productions Ltd. Photo: James Bellorini

  • PGCE student Polly
    Art and Design PGCE student Polly

Kerry Burnett • September 25, 2020


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