It seems apt that the English Pocket Opera company should be showcasing the work of the greatest of all child prodigies for its latest production.

The experimental London-based company has found its own niche performing opera to schoolchildren, playing to more than 60,000 up and down the country since 2002.

EPOC, as it has become known, has been particularly successful in Elmbridge schools, where both teachers and pupils have been turned onto opera.

Mark Tinker, artistic director of EPOC, said: "Opera isn't part of the British culture and so isn't universally popular. I became a convert and wanted to spread the word, that is where the company came from.

"We have concentrated on the communal element. Our productions often focus on communal singing, audience participation is very important and that element really helps in the schools. It is all about people coming together and having fun."

EPOC will be performing a selection of arias from their current production of Magic Flute at the Vera Fletcher Hall on Friday night, November 25.

The gala event, in aid of Cancer Research UK, is a sell out, but disappointed fans can still catch EPOC in action in the West End, where they are currently performing a pantomime version of Magic Flute at the Cochrane Theatre, Holborn.

The light-hearted production of Mozart's last opera coincides with the composer's 250th birthday, which he would have celebrated on January 27, 2006.

Mark explained: "The Magic Flute lends itself to a pantomime approach. It's the closest opera gets to he's behind you'.

"We hope to produce that atmosphere with magical effects, puppetry, entrancing costuming and some of London's best singers as well as the all important audience participation.

"This was actually a central part of the true Viennese Prater-style of 1791, when Mozart wrote Magic Flute, something we suspect he would have approved of."

Magic Flute will be playing at the Cochrane Theatre, Holborn until December 18. Ticket prices range from £5.50 to £15. Call 020 7269 1606 for more information.