New artistic partnership with English National Opera

Streetwise Opera performers in ENO's Other Voices in November 2014. Photo: Cath Wilde

Since 2009, Streetwise Opera has been working in artistic partnership with a number of arts organisations in the cities in which we are based. These partnerships (with Opera North, Sage Gateshead, mima, and Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham) have helped us give our performers the chance to see great art in their cities, get involved in other groups, and take up work placement and volunteering opportunities. Each relationship is slightly different depending on the nature of the partner organisation – for instance we take our North East performers regularly to Opera North productions and work on those operas in our workshops throughout the year, while the Sage Gateshead hosts our weekly workshops and regular performances in its building, and provides volunteering opportunities and mentored introductions to other groups.

All too often, people who have experience of homelessness can face isolation – particularly when they are re-housed – so we focus a lot on making links for them into society. If performers feel ownership of big institutions in their home town and those places become part of their regular routine, then their sense of pride and achievement can help them take a greater part in community life. Our artistic partners are fundamental in providing these important links.

We’re delighted to announce an exciting new artistic partnership with English National Opera (ENO). Our London workshops will now be inspired by ENO's repertoire, supported by opportunities for our performers to see ENO productions and pop-up performances by ENO singers in homeless centres. Over the long-term, the partnership will also include collaborative large-scale community projects, skills sharing and staff training, and ENO work placements for our performers.

We're extremely excited about this partnership with ENO and the brilliant ENO Baylis team – a company that is exciting artistically and highly committed to participation and working in the community. 

Natasha Freedman, Head of ENO Baylis, says: 'We are delighted to be working in partnership with Streetwise Opera, as part of our commitment that opera should be accessible to all, developing opportunities for participation and the creation of new work. This partnership will enable us to collaborate on a long-term programme and extend our work with a diverse range of individuals and community groups across London.'