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Urban Operas will bring communities together to create a site-specific libretto from start to finish

Harriet Clifford

Three new projects launched by Music and Theatre For All

3:35, 12th October 2020

UK charity Music and Theatre For All (MTFA) has announced the launch of three major new projects, supported by a grant from the Arts Council. 

The projects have been designed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and each hinges on the idea that sharing the process of creating high quality music and theatre has a vital part to play in the recovery of our society and economy. All three projects provide employment and engagement opportunities.

  • Urban Operas: This project will bring participants together across individual UK boroughs and cities for one year, during which time they will create their own show. The participants, including school children, youth groups, choirs and families, will work with industry professionals to develop a libretto based on local stories. At the end of the year, the city will have a site-specific opera by the people who live there. MTFA hopes to bring Urban Operas to a number of cities over the next 20 years, starting in the London Borough of Culture Lewisham in 2022.

  • The Secret Library: This is a new opera inspired by the true story of underground rebel fighters who created a secret library in Syria in 2014. It will be made in collaboration with Syrian refugees through Together Production’s Sing for Freedom Choir and Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, who will be part of the development process.

  • Schubert 200: Celebrating the historical approach to Schubert’s three song cycles, in which friends dressed up, recited poetry and brought different instruments, this project will create engaging, visually creative performances of each cycle. Puppets and unusual instruments will be used and MTFA will tour each of the cycles to coincide with their respective 200th anniversaries (2023, 2027 and 2028). 

MTFA founder and artistic director Thomas Guthrie said, ‘Music and storytelling have a unique ability to draw together a multitude of different elements and people in moments that can integrate, identify and inspire communities. These three ambitious projects, the first of many, will address the areas that most need change, care and investment: opera’s role as an elemental human method of storytelling; the opportunities it presents to tell emotionally powerful new stories, and the need for established classics to be reinvented and made available to all.’

www.musicandtheatreforall.org

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