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Streetwise Opera Workshop Programme

Streetwise Opera is an award-winning charity that uses music to help people who have experienced homelessness make positive changes in their lives. Supported by the Heart of Experian Charity Fund, we have delivered a programme of creative singing and acting workshops for people with experience of homelessness in Nottingham.

Over the past six months the Streetwise Opera Workshop Programme has delivered 45 workshops at the day centre Emmanuel House and the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall (TRCH), reaching a total of 65 people. The workshops at Emmanuel House are for people currently experiencing homelessness, while the sessions at TRCH are aimed at people who have moved on and secured accommodation, but may still be experiencing social isolation and poor wellbeing.

Building on the programme of weekly workshops, they have also delivered a opera production involving 15 of their participants working with a professional director and professional composer, which was performed at Nottingham Contemporary on 16 May to a sold-out audience of 170.

The Streetwise Opera Workshop Programme also delivered a performance at the Albert Hall for the Framework Housing Association conference in February, and have offered the participants the opportunity to go to a screening of the Metropolitan Opera's production of 'The Merry Widow' at Broadway Cinema. Finally, one of their performers has undertaken a work placement at TRCH, gaining experience with the front of house team.


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Outcome

The Streetwise Opera Workshop Programme work improves wellbeing and increases social inclusion for some of the country's most vulnerable and socially excluded people.

Involvement with Streetwise Opera can be the first rung on a ladder of self-confidence for people who are or have been homeless and/or are vulnerable and isolated. Through working in a safe and supportive group and participating in opera, an art form that many perceive as elitist, people's beliefs about their capabilities are fundamentally challenged and changed. By developing new skills, meeting people, being creative and simply having fun, people feel better about themselves and are more able to take on life's other challenges - such as engaging with services, living independently, getting involved with community life and securing employment.

The Streetwise Opera Workshop Programme measures the impact of their work using a range of monitoring tools including surveys and focus groups, and collecting information from participants, partner centres and staff. Their evaluation demonstrates that as a result of their involvement with Streetwise Opera:

  • 97% of participants felt that their mental health had improved

  • 71% were seen to increase their engagement with other services

  • 83% felt they had developed better relationships with other people

  • 85% felt they had become more self-confident.


 

Doing Streetwise has had a huge impact on my confidence. My mum came to the show and was gobsmacked when she saw me and was in tears cos she never believed I would have been brave enough to do something like that, as she knows how fearful I am.