Opera Scotland

Jane Davidson

Scottish Opera's Director of Education honoured

Posted 31 Dec 2016

Jane Davidson (pictured), Director of Outreach and Education at Scottish Opera, has been appointed an MBE in the New Year Honours List 2017.

Jane has been with Scottish Opera's education team – established in 1971, making it the oldest education and outreach unit of any opera company in Europe ­– since 1984. She is responsible for the formulation of policy for the Company's education strategy, and for the commissioning of new works for education and outreach projects.

'I'm delighted and extremely touched to receive this honour in recognition of the work that Scottish Opera's unique outreach programme has achieved in Scotland and internationally,' said Jane.

She continued: 'Not many of us are fortunate enough to spend their working life in an environment that is constantly evolving, packed with creativity, artistically inspiring and full of new challenges – and that's just an average day! To the many talented artists, teachers, theatre makers and practitioners with whom I have been privileged to work, thank you for the journey.'

Alex Reedijk, General Director at Scottish Opera said: 'Scottish Opera is delighted that Jane's achievements have been recognised in this way. For over 30 years she has been, and continues to be, a wonderfully creative and dynamic force within the Company.

Alex added that “Her enthusiasm and dedication to using the key elements of opera – music, singing, theatre, storytelling – to engage with people of all ages and from communities across Scotland and beyond is boundless. She has led the way in establishing best practice which has seen the Company's education work presented across Scotland, the UK and internationally, and she constantly brings both ideas and informed insight to creating programmes that are both relevant and appealing.'

The education department's ground-breaking work engages with people of all ages and abilities, including babies, nursery, primary and secondary school children, students and adult community groups. Its programming includes Connect Company, a unique programme for aspiring young singers, instrumental musicians or stage managers aged 16 to 21, and Memory Spinners, for people living with dementia. In November 2016, Scottish Opera presented the UK's very first dementia-friendly opera in partnership with the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh.

During her time with the Company, Jane has commissioned over 30 new works for Scottish Opera including a hugely successful trilogy of works for under 5s: BabyO, SensoryO and KidO, which toured across the UK, the Middle East, Hong Kong and New Zealand, playing to over 20,000 people between 2010 and 2015.

Between 2010 and 2014, Jane led a collaboration involving arts organisations across five continents to create and present an international youth opera; Anamchara: Songs of Friendship. The world premiere was staged as part of the cultural celebrations surrounding Glasgow's hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Jane has also been involved in a range of training and best practice initiatives for young opera artists via RESEO (European Network for Opera and Dance Education) – an outreach and education organisation linking over 50 of Europe's opera, ballet and contemporary dance companies.

She has initiated partnerships with the Scottish Government, the British Council and a wide range of other international cultural organisations including Cape Town Opera, Calgary Opera and the Yuva Ekta Foundation in India. Jane has also taken projects to the West Indies, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Finland, China, Spain and the Republic of Georgia. 

Here in Scotland, Jane represents Scottish Opera’s interests in national education strategies such as the Scottish Government’s education initiative A Curriculum for Excellence, and is a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group for China.

Congratulations, Jane!





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