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Streetwise Opera

A night at the Opera! KCCF visits Streetwise Opera

  • Social Inclusion

KCCF supports award-winning homelessness charity Streetwise Opera through our small grant programme. We have supported the charity since 2018, and were pleased representatives could also join us at the 2022 Party at the Palace to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee. We were delighted to, once again, attend one of their performances as part of the Re:Discover festival in May 2024. Read on to learn more about their work and Opera Express!

Streetwise Opera is an opera company that enables people who have experienced homelessness to find inspiration and empowerment while they rebuild their lives and identities. The company supports participants to develop as creative people and, by amplifying their voices, change how society views homelessness. In the words of participant performers, “Streetwise Opera brings connection, empowerment, positivity and joy into the lives of people affected by homelessness. Working alongside world-class artists, as equals, Streetwise Opera performers inspire audiences, change hearts and minds, and are recognised not for the challenges they have faced but for what they can offer the world”.

The Re:Discover festival features the world premiere of three short operas co-created by over 100 people with lived experience of homelessness, participating in Streetwise Opera’s workshops across London, Manchester and Nottingham, working with a team of world-class artists.

A member of the KCCF team was delighted to attend the London world premiere. The evening began with a performance of Opera Express, a 15-minute opera in which a pianist transforms the chaos of Kings Cross station into a musical masterpiece. The piece explored modern themes, whilst taking inspiration from the music of composers of African and Caribbean heritage, including Ignatius Sancho who was born on a slave ship on the Atlantic Ocean in 1729, and yet became a writer, composer, shopkeeper and respected ‘man of letters’ in 18th century London.

Co-created by performers from Streetwise Opera and a remarkable group of world-class artist including actor and writer Paterson Joseph, it was incredible to see the express opera in action – a real triumph of creativity which showcased the identities and voices of all performers.

Anna Hodgkinson, Head of Development at Streetwise Opera, said “At Streetwise Opera we’re absolutely delighted to have the support of KCCF. For people affected by homelessness, having the opportunity to create great art and be seen as people with something to contribute to society can be absolutely transformative; it can improve wellbeing, reduce isolation and support recovery from what is often a traumatic experience. It means so much to Streetwise Opera and to our performers to be recognised and supported by KCCF. Thank you!”

KCCF’s funding will directly support 220 people experiencing homelessness to access creative opportunities in Nottingham. We look forward to sharing more! You can learn more about the work of Streetwise Opera here.

Image (C) Rey Trombetta