The project

Pupils from special education needs (SEND) schools across Derby recently shared the stage with professional musicians from Sinfonia Viva for an interactive concert showcasing their creative work as part of a city-wide initiative.

‘Lean on Me’ at the Riverside Centre in Pride Park was the culmination of inclusive creative workshops in schools run by Sinfonia Viva, the Derby-based professional orchestra of the East Midlands, QUAD and inclusive theatre company Hubbub.

Pupils from St Martins, St Clare’s, St Giles, Ivy House and St Andrew’s schools as well as the Royal School for the Deaf Derby performed new songs they had written with Viva composers Jack Ross and Raph Clarkson.

On top of this, there were also performances of new movement pieces created by pupils alongside Hubbub Theatre Company and projections which formed the backdrop of the performance, developed by QUAD and the young participants. 

“The biggest reward for the children was the pleasure that they had in creating their own music. With professional musicians by their side they were able to create the most wonderful songs which they were proud to be part of.

“Being able to perform in front of others is, perhaps, one of the most difficult things that we ask of our pupils. However, pupils stood on the stage with their heads held high and were proud of their achievement.

“Many now have a new-found respect for music, musical instruments and for musicians as well as a confidence in their own abilities to take part in something different. We are looking forward to working with Sinfonia Viva in the future and embedding these sessions in our curriculum.”   Sarah Gelsthorpe, Senior Leader at St Clare’s School" 

Aimed at closing Derby’s social mobility gap under the Derby Opportunity Area programme through a broad range of experiences, ‘This is Derby’ has been led by Derby County Community Trust, Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership and Derby Sport Forum.


Theatre Workshop Leader

Jen Sumner (Hubbub Theatre Company)

Set Design

Abbie Canning

Digital Projection Design

Darius Powell

BSL Interpretation

Sarah Gatford