Education & Engagement

Download Resources

We give emerging artists and school teachers the skills and confidence to use music and art in the classroom. As a leading artistic resource for those living and working in the North, we have a responsibility to develop the output of artists, teachers and professionals in the region.

By offering a wide variety of training and professional development programmes we give emerging artists and school teachers the skills and confidence to use music and art in the classroom. This greatly extends the reach of our work, ensuring as many children as possible are engaging meaningfully with music and art.

Here you will find a variety of supporting resources for teachers and artists taking part in our training initiatives.


​Swanhunter Resource Pack


​Our interactive resource is suitable for anyone wanting a basic introduction to Swanhunter, including school teachers with students aged 7+ and families with children aged 7+. You will find information about the story, characters and music, plus some exciting activities to do at home or in the classroom!


The Bartered Bride Resource Pack

As part of Creative Encounters: The Bartered Bride, a brand new curriculum-linked resource has been developed in collaboration with teachers and artists.

This resource is a substantial guide to the key elements of the opera and includes:

  • Background to the opera and the story of The Bartered Bride
  • Lesson plans linked to the drama and music curriculum
  • Resources for the classroom and additional teaching notes
  • An array of insightful articles linking to history and music
  • Interviews with the director and conductor

Please click on the below links to download your FREE copies.

The Bartered Bride Resource Pack (.pdf 7.4mb)

The Bartered Bride Lesson Plans (.pdf 7.4mb)

If you want to find out more about Opera North's production of The Bartered Bride and get an exclusive insight into the rehearsal process, soprano Kate Valentine, who is singing the role of Mařenka in the opera, has filmed an exciting backstage documentary. This is available below and can be used as a classroom resource.


Macbeth Resource Pack

As part of Creative Encounters: Macbeth, a brand new curriculum-linked resource was developed in collaboration with teachers and artists.

This resource is a substantial guide to the key elements of the opera and includes information about:

  • Verdi’s life and work
  • Key characters and themes in the opera
  • The historical backgrounds of Shakespeare and Verdi
  • How the opera compares to the original play

In addition, you will find classroom activities linking to the English, Drama, and Music curriculum, and separate lesson plan documents to work through with your students.

Please click the below links to download your free copies.

Macbeth resource pack - download (.pdf, 3.8mb)

Macbeth lesson plans - English and Drama - download (.pdf, 516kb)

Macbeth lesson plans - Music - download (.pdf, 499kb)


Songbook: Rome Wasn't Built By Chimpanzees

Commissioned by Opera North as part of the Friday Afternoons project, this collection contains 13 new songs which are fun and challenging to sing and perform. Suitable for key stage 2 and 3 this diverse series will fire children’s imaginations and offer a stimulating musical experience - ideal for classroom learning.

Download the Rome Wasn't Built By Chimpanzees Songbook

Listen to the songs being played:

Two of the songs aren’t available online in their full versions. To order your complete, free copy contact education@operanorth.co.uk


Friday Afternoons

To mark Benjamin Britten’s centenary in 2013, Opera North delivered a project around Britten’s Friday Afternoons song cycle, a set of 12 short songs for children’s choir and piano. 

Opera North worked with four primary schools in the four corners of Yorkshire, engaging teachers in  CPD sessions and the whole school in regular singing activity. Schools worked on the Friday Afternoons songs once a week until November 2013 supported by Opera North.

Seven British composers were commissioned to write songs for each school taking part, inspired by Friday Afternoons, which resulted in Rome wasn't built by Chimpanzees a brand new song cycle for children's voices. Over 300 children performed Friday Afternoons and Rome wasn't built by Chimpanzees at a special celebratory event on Friday 22nd November 2013 at Opera North.

A project conceived by Opera North as part of a national partnership programme with Aldeburgh Music

'The Secret Joy' by Howard Skempton, words by Mary Webb © Oxford University Press 2014. All rights reserved.
This Songbook is available via free-of-charge download from the Opera North website for use in schools and other educational settings from 3rd June 2013 to 2nd June 2022 inclusive. Any usages of this Songbook for non-educational purposes or by organisations other than schools or educational organisations requires the permission of the copyright owners.
Permission to perform any of the songs from the Songbook should normally be obtained from the Performing Right Society (PRS).
Permission to produce an audio recording of any of the songs from the Songbook should normally be obtained from the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS). Please see the PRS for Music website for further information.

Newsletter sign-up

Enter your email below:

New to Opera?

- What to wear?

- What to expect?

- How much are tickets?

- How long is it?