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Par­tic­i­pants at The Great Learn­ing work­shop at Rose­hill Theatre


Commissioning | Recruitment | Events & Performances

The Great Learning: Creative Community Devising Days

Join us for a day of creativity to collaboratively compose The Great Learning in Whitehaven or Edinburgh

Calling all community singers ready to explore your voice, movement and new creative expressions.

Are you as hopeful for the future as you’d like to be?
Do you long to use your voice to create change?
Would you like to find a new creative direction to explore with others?
Can you sense your next clear step while travelling a busy path?

In May we're running 2 free creative devising days to collaboratively compose our new commission The Great Learning.

If you're tired of singing alone or feeling disconnected from - or overwhelmed by - the world around you, we invite you to form a vibrant gathering of singers who share a passion for a better future. Together, we'll use our voices to build bridges, spark conversations, and inspire change - one note at a time.

Experiment in a warm and open environment with making and breaking new rules of composition, creating together vivid vocal material, layering space with sound, infusing past experiences with future hope, and collectively asking what kind of world we want to build.

7 May 2023 - Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven
14 May 2023 - Leith Theatre, Edinburgh

Each session will be led by brilliant facilitators who are poets, choir leaders and composers including Emma McGordon, Dave Camlin, Elspeth Murray, and Stephen Deazley, working alongside our Artistic Director Frederic Wake-Walker, to support participants to collaboratively create our own Great Learning.

Over 50 years ago, avant-garde English composer Cornelius Cardew created an experimental and politically engaged choir composition called The Great Learning designed to be performed by people with no or little formal musical training. Cardew’s work uses texts by ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius as provocations for mindful living.

Based on Cardew’s work, The Great Learning will use community singing - weaving words and music with simple movement - to imagine a different world to the one that currently exists. What will we salvage from our present? How will what we have learnt in recent years help us to build a better future?

The project is not about reading sheet music, learning ready-written songs, or standing straight and singing out through a big smile – participants and artists will be exploring, improvising and playing together to create a new piece that responds to their own experiences and learnings. The final piece will also be responsive to the participants with each performance - taking on new dimensions and meanings from the performers’ interpretations.

Each group of participants will work to create a section of the piece, which will then be put together into a whole composition to be shared in public in July 2023.

The plan for each day:

10:00-13:00 - morning session
13:00 - 14:00 - lunch break
14:00 - 17:00 -
afternoon session

The day is free and open to anyone over the age of 18. Tea, coffee & light refreshments are provided, but participants are asked to bring their own packed lunch.

We aim to make our work accessible to anyone. Travel expenses are available for anyone on low income that might not otherwise be able to attend. To find out more about the support available, or to discuss any other access requirements ahead of signing up, please contact Anne on

We hope you can join us!

Register now for the session at Rosehill Theatre on 7 May and Leith Theatre on 14 May.

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