Streetwise Opera at the Keble Arts Festival

Streetwise Opera Progression Manager Lucinda Meredith and Ambassador Germaine Nyack visited the Keble Arts Festival in Oxford on 22 February to speak about Streetwise's work. Lucinda describes their experiences:

Streetwise Opera was invited to present our work to an academic audience at Keble College in Oxford. It was great to be invited back to the city - in 2003, we produced Britten's Ceremony of Carols at New College Oxford, alongside the New College Choir and homeless performers from five homeless centres across Oxford.

Our hour-long presentation generated lively conversation and debate with audience members noting a visible increase in street homelessless in Oxford. In fact, Oxford has one of the largest counts of rough sleepers outside of London. In 2011, the official count published by the Department for Communities and Local Government was 16 people sleeping on the streets on any given night. In November 2015, the count recorded 39 visible rough sleepers on Oxford's streets.

It was great to see the Oxford students so passionate about the homelessness situation they witness on a daily basis and to hear about the voluntary work that individuals were undertaking alongside their studies - from community gardening projects to participatory arts. There was a real interest in Streetwise Opera's methodology, our UK programme of workshops and performancea and our With One Voice international programme. The need to support the homeless population in Oxford is higher than ever, and we hope that our talk inspired the audience to contribute to the good work already taking place in the city.

Germaine Nyack spoke about her involvement as a Streetwise Opera performer, sharing her experience of performing on world-class stages, completing work placements, going on theatre trips and gaining social networks within the company. Like the Oxford students, Germaine is also an active volunteer and we had some interesting conversations about the benefits of volunteering and being a conscious citizen.

Thank you to Keble Arts Festival for inviting Streetwise to to speak - it was wonderful to return to Oxford even for just one day!