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A major artistic response to the Covid-19 pandemic from six primary schools in Norwich to empower children’s voices, with Into Opera and renowned composer Will Todd.

Supported by

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2020: You Won't Hold Me Back!

A song cycle for primary schools

2020: You Won't Hold Me Back!

with Will Todd, Into Opera’s Genevieve Raghu, Adisa the Verbalizer and teachers from two participating schools discussing how this project was developed and its outcomes

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Between July – December 2020, Into Opera has worked intensively with six primary schools in Norwich on an emergency response project. This collaboration has focussed on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children, encouraging them to open up and share their thoughts and feelings about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their lives. We believe that it has provided a safe and inspiring space for children to dig deep emotionally whilst also helping school communities to reconnect during this challenging and unprecedented year.


During lockdown in July 2020, children at home, or those in school, participated in virtual workshops and accessed activity packs which encouraged them to open up emotionally, producing poetry, letters, journals and art work in response to the pandemic and the children’s lockdown experiences. These experiences went on to be curated by Into Opera’s Artistic Director, Genevieve Raghu, and performance poet Adisa the Verbalizer, and set to music by the composer, Will Todd. 

"It’s been incredibly moving to work with the words which the children have shared with us. I hope that what these children in Norwich have to say can be an inspiration to everyone who hears them singing these songs.”

Will Todd, Composer

Sprowston Junior Rehearsing the song 'Li
Recording at St Michael's V.A. Junior Sc
St Michael's V.A. Junior School rehearsi

Into Opera hopes that this song cycle has helped to capture a slice of social history and that these songs will help to ensure that the perspective of these children during the pandemic, will not be forgotten. 


We would like to say an enormous thanks to our six schools for their confidence, creativity and commitment and inviting us to work by side during this difficult time: St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, The Bawburgh School, Falcon Junior School, St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, St Michael’s V.A. Junior School and Sprowston Junior School. We would also like to thank Anguish's Educational Foundation for generously supporting this emergency response project.


If any more schools would like CPD inspired by this project, to purchase our activity packs and education resources, the music for the song cycle or to discuss a possible collaboration with Into Opera please get in touch:

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