Fiona Cowieson - Workshop Volunteer

When I first answered a request to volunteer in 2012 for an event that Streetwise opera were doing I thought the event sounded interesting, but had no idea what an interesting and worthwhile organisation Streetwise opera is.  I found my first introduction to a performance from the Streetwise Opera performers very moving and a joy to listen to and thus offered to be a longer term volunteer.  

As a volunteer I thought I could offer a bit of singing and people skills but was happy to do whatever we necessary. Since that day 2 years ago I have come to know and love the Streetwise performers and staff and I feel one of them.  I have had the opportunity to be a volunteer in the workshops where I help with a small amount of administration, chat to the performers and hopefully be a friendly welcoming face for newcomers or visitors. As volunteer we are encouraged to participate in the sessions and I have also learnt to love having a go. The workshops leaders are very skilled and creative, developing performance skills (understanding of opera, singing, stage craft, music and acting) and having immense fun at the same time. We are even encouraged to try a solo!!

As a volunteer I have had amazing opportunities to work backstage and on stage with Streetwise artists and even travel to Newcastle to help out in a workshop there.  I also helped Streetwise performers get settled into the overnight accommodation when they came to London from across the country. I have even met some of the Streetwise Performers from Nottingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Newcastle!

 The projects that the Streetwise performers have been engaged in are demanding but the staff supports and encourages all in the most sensitive and skilled way to bring out the performers talents. I believe I have seen people grow in their confidence as they develop their performing skills and rise to the challenges of stage performances.

As a volunteer I have had experiences that I would never have had if I had not joined this organisation and most of all I have made new friends amongst the performers and staff. I look forward to my Streetwise sessions, seeing all my friends, having fun and wish I had joined earlier. Thank you Streetwise!

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