This qualitative case study examines the creative pedagogies employed by artist-educators working with adolescents in the Canadian Opera Company's Summer Opera Camp Senior Company in July 2016, at the home of COC in the Four Seasons Arts Centre, Toronto. Artist-educators from a number of operatic production domains joined forces to enable a creative encounter with opera through facilitation of a collaborative composition and performance project among young people with diverse artistic interests and competencies.
Methods used in the study included observation of camp devising and rehearsal processes, observation of COC education staff production meetings, one-to-one interviews with educators and youth participants, and administration of short questionnaires to the adolescent participants. Results showed that the instructors developed a “virtual world” of opera production, simulating real-life opera production practices and developing an authentic learning environment in a professional theatre setting for opera novices. The COC summer camp demonstrated the importance of creative participation programmes by arts organisations for connecting young people with professional arts practice at a crucial age, when career choices are being consolidated.