ENO Baylis youth project inspired by The Winter’s Tale

2nd March 2017 in News

ENO Baylis have been working with young people from the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art and Design Saturday Club at Cranford Community College in a design project responding to ENO’s new production of The Winter’s Tale. Over a series of weeks, the group have been working with designer Ruth Paton to create their own work in response to the design and ideas behind the production. Saturday Club member Ajay keeps us up to date with the project… 

Session 1: Saturday 28 January 2017

“On Saturday 28th January, Ruth and Katherine came especially from the English National Opera to Cranford Community College in order to teach the excited club members more about the new opera The Winter’s Tale – the topic which they will get inspiration from for their final piece.

Ruth began by showing us ‘Peter and The Wolf’ – a stop motion animation directed by Suzie Templeton, featuring the amazing music sharing the same title by Russian composer Prokofiev. This was very insightful to us all as it depicted the harsh, barren, Soviet world which we were going to replicate.

Ruth then talked about what we were actually going to make with her; our own cold dystopian city filled with factories spewing out smoke, run down hospitals, and tower blocks ready to crumble down – all of which made of greyboard (a type of modelling cardboard), at a 1:50 scale (unlike the 1:25 scale which ENO uses for their own models). Ruth also mentioned how even though we were working on our own buildings individually, it would all form a vast collaborative piece – highlighting the synergy of ENO themselves.

Then we went into brainstorming: drawing panoramic views of our own cities; discussing the materials, country, and period; and sharing our team views.

Next time with Ruth and Katherine, we will continue making our models and everyone is looking very much forward to it; we can’t wait to see the ENO team again and make progress with our Cold War landscape!”

Session 3: Saturday 11 February 2017

“This week Ruth arrived and we were all raring to begin making our Soviet inspired buildings. We first had a brief brainstorming session on our collective pictures and designs of our buildings – inspiring our peers and sparking an idea of what our dystopian city may look like as an end result.

We first began making a floor plan of our buildings out of greyboard (a type of modelling cardboard), which ranged from broken-down hospitals to extravagant manor houses and town centres. We all had our own difficulties trying to stick with the scale (1:25, the same as ENO’s scale stage models) and cutting out a material new to many of us – but with the encouragement of Ruth and a little willpower from us all, we managed to create a whole floor plan of our rundown town.

But we still had one question to discuss. How would the tables be set up for our project? After a full-on 20 minute argument on the practicalities of a rectangular arrangement versus the perks of a square – we agreed to disagree and find a midway between both ideas.

Everyone is looking forward to continuing their models and has really had fun working in partnership with the ENO team. We can’t wait to see the final result!”

Session 5: Saturday 11 March 2017

“This week was our penultimate session and everyone was raring to go and complete their Soviet buildings for our exhibition. It was a truly wonderful sight to see all of our plans come to life and all of the students were very pleased about this session, and the ENO collaboration:

‘I have learnt how to plan and construct a miniature building out of grey board, and I enjoyed building something in that timeframe.’ – Mia

‘I really liked interacting with my teachers and peers and it built my understanding of set design.’ – Yana

‘I enjoyed researching buildings from the Soviet era and working out different ideas and what would work best. And most of all I enjoyed seeing my building coming to life.’ – Alma

Even Ruth had encouraging and inspiring words on her experience at Cranford Community College along with all of the students at the art club:

‘I enjoyed researching buildings from the Soviet era and working out different ideas and what would work best. And most of all I enjoyed seeing my building coming to life.’

We are all looking forward to the final push of building and painting, and we can’t wait to see the final result!”