colourful image with white outlined drawings of figures, objects, and cartoon designs. White text reads, super her0 0pera. University of Guelph Students Put the O in Opera

asuperher00pera is an original, improvisation-based opera created in collaboration with Upper Grand District School Board elementary students and presented by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI).

There’s a new opera kid in town. In fact, there are 29 of them.

On Monday, June 12th, the 29 students of Victory Public School’s fourth grade class will perform a new superhero-themed operetta that they helped to write: asuperher00pera.

University of Guelph students Lucy Bilson and Aimee Copping conceived of asuperher00pera as part of their degree work in the University’s innovative Critical Studies in Improvisation graduate program. The opera emerged in response to a prompt from IICSI Director Dr. Ajay Heble as part of his Arts-Based Community-Making seminar.

The 29 elementary students have been involved in every stage of the opera. Copping, a singer-songwriter and music educator, used improvisational techniques to compose an original score and libretto with the class. Bilson, a visual artist, collaborated with students to design and create scenery, costumes, and props.

“This is not your average children’s production. All of our participants have agency and creative input in process,” says Bilson.

asuperher00pera will be performed one time only at the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation’s brand new research and performance venue, ImprovLab, on Monday, June 12th at 7:00 pm. ImprovLab is located in the ARC, the recently renovated wing of the MacKinnon building, on the University of Guelph campus. Admission is free.

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