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Value Of Music: Opera Engage

Here, at The BRIT Trust & BPI, we want to highlight the importance of the Value of Music, not just to the Economy and through its positive social impact, but also to our personal well-being. It’s only through looking at all the amazing benefits of music that we can really see the full value of music to us and those around us.


Opera Engage is an established and highly successful project model delivered in partnership by Welsh National Opera and the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, and is part-funded by the BRIT Trust.


The project engages young people aged 10-18 who develop new skills in composition, singing, acting, and designing through involvement in a week of highly participative creative arts activity.


Guided by a professional creative team, the young people devise and create an original piece of musical theatre, using WNO productions as stimuli to create their own short performances. With creativity and music at the core of the project, participants find an outlet for expression through opera which reflects their unique response to the given work.


“I feel so incredibly lucky that I had the opportunity to take part in such a rewarding project. The team that we worked with were amazing and not only did I get to learn more about opera but also about writing lyrics, composing songs and set design. I had so much fun meeting and working with like-minded people.Lexie, La Boheme Engage Participant, Spring 2017


‘I loved learning more about the opera world and working with new people. It was really fun!’ Geena, La Boheme Engage Participant, Spring 2017


This successful collaboration with the Mayflower has now been delivered over 4 WNO seasons and has seen over 100 participants create work inspired by productions ranging from Hansel and Gretel, Kiss Me, Kate and La Boheme. As the partnership has grown, WNO has additionally been able to engage over 1,500 young people through open house workshops at the Mayflower Theatre, providing opportunities for more young people to participate in musical and theatrical activities including singing workshops and props and costume demonstrations. One of the primary aims of the partnership is to encourage the exploration and enjoyment of a variety of art forms and for many of the young people this has been their first encounter with opera.


WNO is in receipt of generous support from The BRIT Trust to deliver the Opera Engage project during Spring 2018. Support such as this for the more established elements of our Youth and Community Programme is essential for the Company and enables us to continue to develop and deliver successful models such as Opera Engage.


During February half term, young people will create a new piece of musical theatre inspired by our Spring 2018 production of Tosca. Participants will take part in 5 days of workshops between 12–16 February 2018, culminating in a showcase performance of the devised piece for an audience of family and friends at the end of the week.


The young people will reconvene on the 22 March 2018 to attend a performance of Tosca at The Mayflower Theatre.


‘Each year I come away from Southampton feeling immensely proud of the project and the commitment from the young people into devising the piece which is evident in the final show. It is clear how much the young people develop within that week and how much they enjoy it.  Louise Carey, WNO Designer & Production Manager


The Opera Engage project activity during 2017/18 sees the continuation of WNO’s successful partnership with the Mayflower; a positive relationship which enables us to work collaboratively to reach out to young people in Southampton. Each season in Southampton I continue to be impressed by the quality and inquisitiveness of the young people involved” Ruth Evans, WNO Youth and Community Producer