Satyagraha Half Term Youth Project


Four lucky Year 9 students received an amazing opportunity to participate in an English National Opera Youth project during the February half term. Here is one student’s take on her experience working at the English National Opera rehearsal space.

In the mid- February half term (from the 15th-17th) I was able to take part in a youth project arranged by the English National Opera with three other students in my class for GCSE Music. This project was based on the opera called Satyagraha- an opera which explores the story of Mahatma Gandhi and the discrimination he and other Indians faced when they had been living in South Africa. It shows how the power of activism and speaking out can make an incredibly positive difference to the way laws and regulations have been arranged in a particular area or country. Before participating in this program, staff from the ENO had visited us on two occasions for performing arts workshops. These helped us massively on learning more about what opera is and the story it is supposed to tell. Furthermore, Year 9 and Year 11 GCSE Music students were given the opportunity to visit the London Coliseum to watch a (free!) performance of Satyagraha itself.

I found the project fascinating. Although travelling to the English National Opera Baylis House was quite lengthy (as it is situated in West Hampstead), there were many benefits:

  • they made it easy for you to come out of your shell with the activities and exercises
  • they allowed us to have our own input in the things we had created during the three day period
  • they also taught me more about composition and how easy yet captivating and hypnotic it can be




The most amazing aspect of the project was the huge amount of work we created in 3 days. It really showed that the power of teamwork and that creativity can make a significant impact. The project allowed us to meet students around from other schools with similar interests and talents. I also enjoyed working with two professional opera singers: Phoebe and Peter, who added effectively to our performance, yet despite this, it was mostly us as young individuals who had taken in something one way, and made it our own.

Overall, I really enjoyed the project and it gave me an interest in opera and I hope to do some more performance-related programmes in the future.

Written by Esther – Year 9 student.

Photography by Sarah Ainslie