Animate Orchestra offers young musicians in school years 5 to 13 opportunities to play together and create their own music in a ‘Young Person’s Orchestra for the 21st Century’.

Our members experience the musical teamwork of playing in an orchestra, while bringing their own ideas to how orchestras of the future might look and sound. With specialist tutors and world-class musicians as mentors and guides, our courses are fun, sociable and musically adventurous. Members are from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and our music reflects their skills, knowledge and interests.

What is Animate Orchestra?

Find out more

What's on?

Information about our upcoming courses in 2018/19 will be listed below along with information on how to book, so watch this space! Information will also be released via our mailing list and social media accounts which are detailed below. To learn more about the types of courses, see the boxes below. 

There are fees to attend an Animate course but bursaries are available; we never want cost to be a barrier to participation.

Contact us:

For more information, please see below:

General enquiries:  | 020 8305 4367

Mailing List: Email with your name, the name and date of birth of your child and the instrument(s) that they play.

Or follow us on Twitter to see out latest announcements: @AnimateOrch

Animate Local

Taking place during school holidays, Animate Orchestra local courses are usually of 1 or 2 days duration and are open to all, regardless of ability or musical experience. They introduce a range of creative skills (such as composition and improvisation) and musical skills (such as listening to and playing with others). At the end of each course the ensemble shares the music made in an informal performance to friends and family. 

Local courses are open to young people in school years 5 – 8 and play an instrument (of any type, including laptops and technology to any standard). Animate Orchestra was originally conceived for young people who live or attend school in the boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, Lambeth or Southwark but we are open to applications from young people from further afield.

Places are offered on a first come first served basis, taking into account the need to create a balance between instrumental sections. This means that we may be able to offer places to players of some instruments later than those playing others. A music technology group uses computers and sound equipment to record, sample and manipulate sounds as part of the ensemble.

Animate Performing Ensemble

Animate Orchestra Performing Ensembles are for young people in school years 5 - 8. While local courses are open to all, Animate Orchestra Performing Ensembles are intended as a progression opportunity for young musicians who are ready for a more intensive and challenging experience. Because of this, Performing Ensemble participants are normally of Grade 2 standard or equivalent and have taken part in at least one Animate Local course, however applications will be considered from Young People who are new to Animate Orchestra.  Young People interested in taking part in a Performing Ensemble can apply to take part, listing their previous experiences, either as part of an Animate project or similar.

Places are offered based on applications, taking into account the need to create a balance between instrumental sections. A music technology group uses computers and sound equipment to record, sample and manipulate sounds as part of the ensemble.

Performing Ensemble Courses are usually 3 days long, sometimes with further rehearsals, recording sessions or performances, with around 40 places for young people. These courses focus on giving young people creative ownership, more time to develop ideas and there is a greater focus on rehearsal and performance.

Animate Artists

Animate Artists is a collaborative and creatively challenging music-making opportunity for our older young musicians in school years 9-13. Young musicians who take part should be interested in honing their creative skills in a smaller, more advanced ensemble made up of young musicians.

Each year we recruit for a new Animate Artists cohort. The opportunity to become an Animate Artist is by application, and places are awarded on the basis of your involvement with Animate Orchestra to date or similar relevant experience. 

To take part, you should be:

  • in school years 9-13
  • an instrumentalist or music technologist
  • playing at roughly grade 3 standard or above
  • able to use your creativity, knowledge and skills to push artistic boundaries
  • interested in musical collaborations with other art forms

In 2018, the programme for Animate Artists included a collaboration with young theatre makers from the Greenwich and Lewisham Young Performers Theatre, and a performance platform at the Tate Modern as part of Tate Exchange. Previous years have included dance collaborations with performance opportunities at Live at Trinity Laban as part of LewishamLIVE.

History of Animate Orchestra

Animate Orchestra began in 2011 and since then has grown and developed. To read more about Animate, please click below:

Animate - Past, Present and Future