Aberystwyth primary school children have enlisted the help of a television celebrity to show their concern for the environment in a public performance re-make of an infamous bible story.
Pupils from six schools have teamed up with Mid-Wales Opera to perform a rendition of the much-loved Noah’s Ark story, with the voice of God delivered by environmentalist and television personality Iolo Williams. Pupils from Ysgol Gymraeg, Ysgol Llancynfelyn, Ysgol Tal Y Bont, Ysgol Craig Yr Wylfa, Ysgol Myfenydd and Ysgol Comins Coch are involved in the opera.
Supported by the Arts Council of Wales, the Colwinston Trust and Size of Wales – a unique scheme to sustain an area of tropical rain forest the size of Wales as part of the national response to climate change – the children performed a lively, witty and relevant take on a familiar story, titled Noye’s Fludde.
Hundreds of young actors, singers, instrumentalists and dancers from Aberystwyth have been working alongside Mid Wales Opera’s professional orchestra and principal singers, with the choreography created by Ballet Cymru.
Iolo Williams said: “I am delighted to be involved in such an exciting and important project. The issues of climate change highlighted by the production are of great importance to our children and I welcome Size of Wales’ involvement. It shows that if we work together we can make a really positive difference to the environment.”
Mid-Wales Opera had eight days with the pupils to put together the performance and give them a taste of life as an opera star. The idea is conceived and directed by Clare Williams, who has spent the last 25 years producing large-scale events for young people.
She said: “It’s a great challenge to mount an opera in eight days, but Wales is so rich in musical and theatrical talent that we are confident that the young people will do the piece justice.
“We are also extremely grateful to our supporters, like Size of Wales. Climate change is something that Noye’s Fludde addresses and by doing our bit, children in Aberystwyth can make a really positive difference to the environment and help communities in Africa and South America.”
Hannah Scrase, project manager at Size of Wales, said: “The work that Mid-Wales Opera is doing is great and has really benefitted the children in Aberystwyth. It also raises awareness of environmental issues at a young age. We are aiming to raise two million pounds to help protect two million hectares of forest, so we need all the help we can get.
“Every year an area of forest twice the size of Wales is destroyed, so it is important that we each do our bit and in doing so we can encourage other countries to do the same.”
Noye’s Fludde was first performed in 1957 and is writer Benjamin Britten’s best known work for children. The performance will trade travel across Wales, working with different schools over the next year, under the direction of Clare Williams, conducted by Mid Wales Opera’s Artistic Director, Nicholas Cleobury.
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