Re:sound is an uplifting operatic journey to rediscover our cities through the eyes and voices of those who’ve been homeless.

This one year festival, from April 2022 to March 2023, brought together 100 participants in Streetwise Opera’s creative workshops in London, Manchester and Nottingham, the BBC Concert Orchestra, singers from The Sixteen and award-winning theatre company 1927.  

Re:sound led to the co-creation of nine micro-operas that explore and celebrate the history and culture of London, Manchester and Nottingham.

The pieces were co-created by people with lived experience of homelessness working with world-class composers in each city: Ben See, Electra Perivolaris and Kemal Yusuf in London; Emily Levy, Nicolas Lewis and Michael Betteridge in Manchester; and Tim Lole, Alison Willis and Elizabeth Kelly in Nottingham.

The Re:sound micro-operas are imbued with fearlessness – the courage it takes to claim back your voice and your identity after experiencing trauma, the determination to explore and celebrate the spirit of a city that made you feel unwelcome, and the certainty that the voices of those who have been homeless deserve to be listened to.

Yet, there is lots of humour in these pieces, and a willingness to explore themes that make us feel proud of the cities we live in.

The festival culminated in performances at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on 20 March, with musicians from the BBC Philharmonic and including a micro-opera co-creation workshop for over 1,200 pupils from schools in Greater Manchester; the Nottingham Playhouse on 21 March; the Southbank Centre’s Blue Room on 22 March, and a grand finale at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall which brought together over 70 Streetwise Opera participants from London, Manchester and Nottingham.

These striking performances featured an animated backdrop produced by 1927, a multi-award-winning theatre company that specialises in combining performance and live music with animation and film to create large-scale productions. The artwork for this backdrop was created during a series of workshops with Streetwise Opera participants led by visual artist Amber Cooper-Davies.

Re:sound was possible thanks to generous funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, other trusts and foundations, and individual funders.

The performance on Sunday 26 March at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall was generously funded by Cockayne Grants for the Arts through The London Community Foundation.

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