The Little Black Cat

In 2021/22 CYO aims to create and perform a puppet opera, based on a Japanese folktale, The Little Black Cat. The opera will be composed and performed by 11 – 19 year olds. We believe that this will be the first project of its type, locally, nationally and even internationally: a high quality community opera, created collaboratively by children and young people for children and young people.

We will work with the Norwich Puppet theatre and school partners to:

  • Grow the experience of young people in both opera and puppetry
  • Create an imaginative and high quality artwork and to attract and engage audiences, with a particular emphasis on children and young people
  • Build the confidence and support the well being of participants by enabling them to collaborate in a supportive environment with their peers and coaches
  • Develop a range of transferrable skills in all participants
  • For those considering a career in the arts, provide a range of practical skills and first hand experience and knowledge to support their journey

The project will work primarily with 11-19 year olds with the involvement of CYO members and partner secondary schools. Through our Young Artists programme, we will also provide specific opportunities for young people at the start of their artistic careers.

We will offer activities in six – eight week modules, enabling young people to get involved across the project or to focus on those activities that interest them most. The project plan is available below.

We aim to produce a finished work which can be:

  • Performed live, including performances at the Cambridge Summer Music Festival in July 2021
  • Filmed as a long lasting resource for future use

The video version will include a set of teaching resources, aimed at its ongoing used as a classroom introduction to opera and puppetry.

Caroline Coetzee   
Artistic Director 
Project lead / Creative coach: Libretto, Stage Direction
Project manager              

Marion Dall Caldwell 
Creative Coach / Pianist
Creative coach: Music,

Alastair Chilvers 
Musical Director
Project lead: Musical Rehearsal and Performance
Creative coach: Music

Sinéad O’Neill 
Creative Coach
Creative coach: Dramaturgy

Russell Hepplewhite 
Project lead / Creative Coach: Composition

Julia Caddick
Creative Coach / Vocal Coach
Creative coach: Vocal Writing
Project lead: Vocal Technique

If you would like to more information about any area of this project, please contact