Ealing's Special Pupils Make Special Film

John Chiltern school involved in collaboration with English Touring Opera

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pic credit Tim Yealland

John Chiltern School


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A group of over 40 students at John Chilton Special School in Ealing are working with English Touring Opera (ETO) to produce a new opera and film based on a schoolchild’s successful attempt to fly to Rome without a ticket or passport.

he story is based on events last July, when Liam Corcoran, an 11-year-old boy in Manchester, managed to evade security and sneak past police and Manchester Airport authorities onto a flight to Rome.

At the time, an investigation was launched over the incident, which prompted concerns from the highest levels of government.

The students at John Chilton School, who all have physical disabilities, are producing the opera alongside ETO, the country’s leading touring opera company. The opera and film, which have the working title of Flight 791 to Rome, are being developed in a series of workshops ahead of a performance and screening for friends and families on Tuesday 25 June.

Most of the children in the school are involved, and the production includes the use of green screen filming techniques to make them fly against their own magical background, as well writing songs and stories for the performance.

The project is being delivered at John Chilton School by composer Rachel Leach, working alongside filmmaker and designer Babis Alexiadis, a professional singer, and students from the Royal Academy of Music.

This is ETO’s third major project at John Chilton School, following the success of Thief in the Night in June 2012, an opera about a beautiful stork, and Random Numbers in 2011, about a lost and found lottery ticket.

Tim Yealland of ETO, who is coordinating the project, said: ‘This is ETO's third project with John Chilton School, funded by John Lyon's Charity, and it has become one of our strongest partnerships. The students at John Chilton, though disabled, have incredible energy, enthusiasm and imagination, and we love working with both them and the brilliant staff. The resulting film should be of very high quality and will be premiered at the first performance of the new opera.’

Aidan Meech at John Chilton School said: ‘Our work with ETO helps us support and challenge our pupils in various important ways- the pupils learn to work with new people, meet professional artists, designers, directors and musicians and also collaborate together in groups to explore and express in new directions.’

He added: ‘With ETO, the elements of self expression, social skills and emotional awareness come together through Drama, music and design. And everyone has loads of fun at the same time!’



12th June 2013

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