Join award-winning Streetwise Opera for a celebration of African and Caribbean heritage in Britain through the voices of people with lived experience of homelessness.

Inspired by the artistry and spirit of Black classical composers, from Ignatius Sancho to Shirley J. Thompson, Re:Discover Festival is a series of two-day events unfolding in London, Manchester and Nottingham to celebrate and honour the impact of African and Caribbean heritage on contemporary British culture.

With performances by actor and writer Paterson Joseph, jazz/reggae band Jazz Jamaica, operatic soprano Abigail Kelly, ensembles from the Royal Northern College of Music and critically acclaimed Streetwise Opera, Re:Discover Festival promises a joyful and exhilarating musical celebration.

The festival will feature 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. These pieces explore modern themes, whilst taking inspiration from the music of composers Ignatius Sancho, George Bridgetower, Joseph Bologne, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Florence Price, Margaret Bonds and Shirley J. Thompson.

Re:Discover begins its journey at St John’s Waterloo in London, on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 May. Our next stop is The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June, followed by the concluding chapter at the Nottingham Playhouse in Nottingham, on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 July.

Alongside the new operas, the programme includes Sancho & Me – For One Night Only, written and performed by Paterson Joseph, about the life of British abolitionist, writer and composer Charles Ignatius Sancho. Another highlight is Shirley J. Thompson’s celebratory opera Women of the Windrush, performed by soprano Abigail Kelly and portraying inspirational narratives from the lives of women who travelled to the UK from the West Indies between the 1940s and the 1960s.

The festival also includes pop-up recitals, opera and percussion workshops, discussions about Britain’s African and Caribbean heritage and an exhibition that explores the impact of Black artists in the UK.

Martin Constantine, Artistic Director of Streetwise Opera, said:

“Re:Discover recognises the extraordinary impact that artists of African and Caribbean heritage have had on the culture of Britain and Europe. These remarkable composers endured and triumphed over profound adversities to build a fairer and more beautiful world through their music. Their resilience and courage have been a source of inspiration to all of us at Streetwise Opera.”

Phillippa Marlowe-Hunt, a participant in Streetwise Opera’s workshops at the Southbank Centre in London, said:

“Re:Discover has been an empowering journey, reconnecting me to my roots and celebrating the vibrant heritage of Africa and the Caribbean. It’s been crucial, considering that in Britain, the narrative often focuses solely on Black people’s history as slaves. However, through Re:Discover, I’ve learned about the strength and talent of these composers, turning this project into more than just a performance. It’s a tribute to all our ancestors, a reclaiming of our history and a poignant reminder of the resilience of those who paved the way for us.”

Re:Discover Festival is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Thanks to National Lottery players

Full Schedule

Artistic Team

Abigail Kelly

Festival Director

Paterson Joseph

Librettist

Pete Letanka

Composer, London

Lavender Rodriguez

Composer, Manchester

David Austin Grey

Composer, Nottingham

TD. Moyo

Director, London

Amy Hailwood

Director, Manchester

Beth Kapila

Director, Nottingham

Aga Serugo-Lugo

Musical Director, London

Jonathan Ainscough

Musical Director, Manchester

Tim Lole

Musical Director, Nottingham

Debbie Duru

Set & Costume Designer

Laura Asare

Dramaturg, London

Princess Arinola Adegbite

Dramaturg, Manchester

Carol Leeming

Dramaturg, Nottingham

Mia Lewis

Curator and Heritage Project Manager (London)

Michaela Ross

Curator and Heritage Project Manager (Manchester)

José Sunshine-Okoro

Curator and Heritage Project Manager (Nottingham)