Streetwise Opera supporter Linda Laurance writes about the impact of our work with people who are or have been homeless.
Being involved with Streetwise Opera means being reminded regularly that small miracles can and do happen. Over the years that I have been a supporter I have seen how the lives of people who are or have been homeless can be turned round for the better by their doing something as natural and joyous as singing.
Streetwise Opera doesn’t just provide the opportunity for people whose lives are or have been blighted by homelessness to let go with heart and voice. When I first became a supporter I went to several improvisational workshops for productions and watched how the performers grew in self-confidence. Occasionally I sat down for a meal with them and listened to their life stories, sometimes humorous but always courageous, and heard how they were perhaps addressing problems of addiction or trying to improve their personal relationships. I also became aware of the creative bond evolving between the performers and those working with them.
The energy and commitment of the executive team, artistic director, music director, writer, composer, then and now is infectious. Something truly remarkable happens and two productions in particular remain vividly in my mind: Tell Me The Truth About Love at Sage Gateshead, and Carmen: Frailty, Fire & Freedom in the Paul Hamlyn Hall at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Both incorporated one or more professional singers, one of whom spoke afterwards of the deep pleasure she was experiencing being part of a Streetwise production.
The seats fellow longterm supporter Anne Siddell and I had in the Sage gave us a view from above of the wedding reception which is the setting for Tell Me The Truth About Love. Before the music began the performers were in role and by the end of the performance I had become another wedding guest and was tearfully celebrating the joyful finale.
The Streetwise Opera Carmen production is an exploration of the central characters in this well-known opera, their motivation and the impact of their behaviour on others. Watching how engrossed each performer was, regardless of their role, and how the inspirational director enabled them to convey changes of mood, was transfixing.
Small miracles with a huge impact.
If you want to find out more about supporting Streetwise Opera, please click here.