In the last decade, performing arts organisations around the world
and across a variety of art forms have turned to livestreaming
technology in a bid to increase access and promote what they do to a
When it comes to arts education, the use of technology has been
employed by arts organisations for some time, providing teachers with
online programs to build into lesson plans or professional development
resources to aid in delivering the content. Some bigger organisations
overseas make recordings and livestreamed performances of concerts and
productions available for free, however this form of delivery is not as
common in Australia.
In 2018, Victorian Opera launched its innovative Access All Areas: Livestream Program,
which uses online technology to teach primary school students across
Victoria about opera. The program consists of four educational workshops
livestreamed into classrooms, followed by students watching an opera
performance – Engelbert Humperdinck’sHansel and Gretel in 2018 – either live at the theatre or, if situated remotely, livestreamed into their classrooms.
The workshops have been designed to give students a fun and in-depth
introduction to opera. Over four weeks, students learn about opera as an
art form and the story of the production, as well as gaining rare
behind-the-scenes access to the rehearsal room, the design process,
behind the curtain at the theatre and into the orchestra pit. To
maintain interactivity and engagement, students and teachers watching
online were able to contribute their thoughts and questions via a live
chat forum throughout the workshop.
Without replacing the live theatre experience, the workshops aim at
engaging students more deeply with the art form while a livestreamed
performance opens access to opera to regional students who cannot attend
a live performance at the theatre.
This program has allowed Victorian Opera to build on its previous
education program where representatives physically attended schools to
deliver one-hour in-classroom workshops. By turning to livestreaming
technology, it enables the company to reach more students and, through
the workshops, expose students to other important elements in creating
opera meaning they were much more engaged in the theatre when it came to
‘My favourite thing about this program is that it gives those
students who are in the more remote parts of the state the chance to
experience a very unique art form and hopefully engages them enough to
inspire a life-long love for it,’ reflects Victorian Opera’s Education
Officer Ioanna Salmanidis.
By giving schools the option to access the workshops and a
performance through livestreaming technology, Victorian Opera was been
able to engage with 1,400 primary school students state-wide in 2018 and
give them a unique first taste of opera. Some of these students were
from schools in areas such as Indigo and Penshurst, places where the
company has never performed and where students both discovered what
opera was and experienced it for the first time.
With crowded curriculums and low funding for in-school music
education programs, arts organisations need to develop and deliver
easily accessible education programs allowing students to engage with
them in a way they usually would not. A livestreaming program like
Access All Areas allows Victorian Opera to not only bring opera into
schools in a very modern way, but also provide an in-depth introduction
to our work and plenty of time to highlight why it is special.