Working with Streetwise Opera Nottingham

University of Nottingham music student Callum Plews shares his experiences of being on work placement with Streetwise Opera:

Over the last ten weeks I have been involved with Streetwise Opera in Nottingham, working as part of a placement scheme for my university course. It has been a wonderful time, full of meeting new people, learning new skills, singing (plenty of it!), and many biscuits.

I was quite nervous coming into the first week but was made very welcome by everybody. Though I am studying music at university, voice is not my instrument. However, I very much enjoyed singing many classic tunes in the drop-in workshop at Emmanuel House and Explore Group at Theatre Royal. One of the main highlights was getting to know the performers over the placement and I enjoying spending time with them. I hope to attend performances in the future so that I can see everybody again.

When I arrived at the end of January it was just over a month until the Opera Hour performance. Tim and Neil, the workshop leaders, pushed us very hard in both workshops to learn the pieces. This was challenging for me at times as I had missed a lot of the work they had done on the pieces before I arrived, but I managed to catch up in time for the performance. The Opera Hour was my favourite day of the placement. It was so great to share a meal with performers from both workshops and the performance was a great success. I joined in performing in the Opera Hour and it felt so great to pull it off after all the hard work we had put in.

Behind the scenes I spent time working with Jen Dewar, the Nottingham Co-ordinator, learning skills and assisting with the work that she does. These times were great experience of a working environment and a chance to ask questions about the things we were doing, learning from it each week.

One of the things which has most excited me from working with Streetwise is the enthusiasm from our performers about opera. It is great to see them engaging with the plots and excited to go to opera performances. Opera has been something I have been wanting to explore as I enjoy learning about it at university. Streetwise has provided a door for me into a whole new exciting area of music and I can’t wait to get listening to and watching some more.

The last ten weeks have been a new and very enjoyable experience for me and I will treasure it as one of my best memories from university.

Photo of the Nottingham Opera Hour performance by Alexandra Johnson