Educational engagement with the arts

Above and front page slide: Level 4 participants performing in the Clore Studio at the Royal Opera House, June 2017. Photo: Brian Slater

The Mohn Westlake Foundation supports a number of educational programmes at the Royal Opera House. These include its long-running Chance to Dance programme, Month of Sundays Festivals, Create and Sing Carmen, as well as the Open Up Workshops and Design Challenge.

Chance to Dance
Chance to Dance gives primary school children from across the country, who do not have access to ballet / live in areas facing numerous disadvantages, their first opportunity to engage creatively with ballet, connecting closely with the inspirational repertory, choreographers and dancers of The Royal Ballet.

With its 27-year track record for excellence, Chance to Dance is now building a national presence and being the catalyst for systemic change in who has access to ballet and the opportunity to train professionally.. Chance to Dance aims to broaden and diversify the pool of young people with potential in ballet, to provide pathways to nurture and develop talent, with the aim of diversifying the range of dancers who have the opportunity to enter vocational ballet training and graduate to become professionals in the sector.

Over the past six months, the children on this season’s programme will have witnessed the history of ballet performed by dancers from The Royal Ballet, been inspired by the dance in workshops at their schools and have developed their own creativity and ballet techniques through weekly classes.

Level 2 and 3 participants performing at The Royal Ballet School, May 2017. Photo: Brian Slater

Create and Sing Carmen
This is one of ROH’s national teacher training programme that equips primary school teachers with the skills and confidence they need to deliver dramatic singing to their pupils. Its annual Design Challenge competition offers students the opportunity to test and develop their design skills, based around a ballet production or opera.

A Month of Sundays
This year, the Foundation’s grant is supporting A Month of Sundays festival days and the launch of the Year Round Programme of workshops, both of which welcome people into the new public spaces of the Royal Opera House. Visitors will encounter stories from opera and ballet through festivals, dance workshops, craft afternoons,  interact with characters from ballets and operas, and watch live demonstrations from technicians and craftspeople who bring productions to the stages all with the aim of engaging new audiences in new and creative ways.

At a glance…
  • 1,900 children have engaged with the Chance to Dance programme since September 2017 (including 161 existing participants).
  • Already this year over 5,000 children from 120 schools nationwide have been engaged in Create and Sing Carmen.


Updated Jan 2019

“I’m thrilled about how [the Royal Opera House] has given everybody a chance to come inside.”

If you'd like to learn more about the Royal Opera House's youth programmes, please visit their website:
Chance to Dance –
Create and Sing Carmen –
Month of Sundays Festival –
Year Round Programme –
Design Challenge –

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