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It has been an incredible year for the Learning & Participation team at Britten Sinfonia. At the beginning of the year, we were still rather bemused by Arts Council England's decision to remove 100% of our regular funding. However, I'm grateful that we had the opportunity to reflect on and develop our programmes like never before across the East of England.

In recent months, we have launched our Music on Your Doorstep community residency in Thetford, building on the success of our pilot events in 2021 and working to embed more deeply over a sustained period of time, in order to make a greater and longer-lasting impact. 

Pupils from Thetford Academy and Drake Primary School in a coaching session as part of Britten Sinfonia's Music on Your Doorstep Thetford Community Residency.

We had such a brilliant time delivering 16 events in 4 days across 12 nurseries, schools, care homes and assisted living facilities, museums and local community orchestras, engaging with over 600 local residents. 

We have been busy with our friends at Orchestras Live, delivering Deaf Perspectives, past and present in partnership with Suffolk Archives. During this project, we had the pleasure of working with the incomparable composer and workshop leader, James Redwood, and D/deaf children and young people from Bury St Edmunds to create new pieces of music inspired by the life of deaf photographer Walton Burrell

Following the workshops, the children and young people came together with a 19-piece orchestra of musicians from Britten Sinfonia to perform for friends and family. There wasn't a dry eye in the house as they performed Keep the Home Fires Burning in British Sign Language. 

Children and young people from Westgate Primary School and King Edward VI School preparing for their concert debut with Britten Sinfonia.

We have also been working with Orchestras Live to deliver our Musical Memories programme for older people and people living with long-term health conditions in Mid-Suffolk with the District Council. Straight off the back of Deaf Perspectives, Miranda Dale (violin) and Milo Harper (harp) joined facilitator, Raphael Clarkson, to deliver performances at six community settings across Mid-Suffolk. 

As well as sing-alongs and some festive cheer, we started creating a song about community spirit which we will return to in January and perform with musicians from Britten Sinfonia at a celebration event in March. Here's a sneak peak... 

We have so much to be excited about in the new year... We'll be heading back to Thetford to create modern folksongs with community members and children and young people from Diamond Academy and Thetford Academy. We'll also be ramping up preparations for our hospital residency with CUH Arts at Addenbrooke's Hospital and the launch of our next Key Stage 1 concert The Robot and the Bluebird. 

Support Us

If you would like to support any of our projects or would like to discuss a specific or bespoke programme of activity, please get in touch with Chris Bell or Nick Brealey at