Photo: Rey Trombetta

Composers for Unseen

Unseen (working title) will respond to, and build upon, the themes of the Unseen project that Streetwise Opera delivered online through lockdown.

This project explored, and introduced Streetwise Opera participants to, a range of composers of African and Caribbean heritage, including Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges), George Bridgetower and Margaret Bonds.

This new project will draw inspiration from, and respond to, the music of those composers of African and Caribbean heritage that inspired the original project.

The project will centre around the commission of a librettist and three composers to co-create new music, alongside Streetwise Opera performers, culminating in a new three-act opera. We envisage each act being stand-alone, approximately 15 mins in length and created in one of the three cities in which Streetwise Opera work: London, Nottingham and Manchester. Our aim would be to unite all three acts for a performance Summer 2024.

We are seeking to collaborate with global majority composers.

Composer brief

Streetwise Opera will be commissioning 3 composers for this project. We are looking for:

  • 1 composer in London
  • 1 composer in Nottingham
  • 1 composer in Manchester

Streetwise Opera is unable to pay for travel expenses to attend workshops, rehearsals or performances. We therefore ask applicants to consider this when selecting the city they are applying to work within.

The selected composers will be working in a range of settings, including our arts partners and our homelessness partners (including hostels, day centres and refuges).

Through the project, you will be developing the beginnings of the opera in co-creation with the Streetwise Opera performers, for a minimum of 3 sessions; these 6 sessions will take place in June and October 2023.

Creative brief

  • Composers will take the lead in writing the music with Streetwise performers within Streetwise Opera sessions.
  • Each act of the opera will be approximately 10 – 15 minutes long.
  • Composers will work with the newly commissioned libretto, and in collaboration with Streetwise Opera performers. The initial stimuli will be the music of composers of Composers of African and Caribbean heritage previously explored in the Unseen project including.
  • The composer will work in collaboration with other artists on the project, including the writer, director, the Artistic Director and co-Director of the Festival.
  • Consideration should be made to balance the complexity of phrases, rhythms and range to suit the group so that it is ambitious but within the reach of Streetwise Opera participants.
  • The composer will contribute to the digital festival by sharing the process of their work through interviews or blogs.


  • Streetwise Opera want to reimagine and redefine the boundaries of what opera can be to demonstrate that opera can be for anyone and everyone. We welcome submissions from artists who are excited to join us on this journey.
  • Composers must be 18 years or older.
  • They must be British citizens or residents in the UK for the duration of the project.
  • They will need to be available to travel to workshops and performances.
  • Composers should be able to demonstrate some experience in participatory work, as in some settings they will be the solo creative lead (though supported by a Streetwise Opera member of staff).
  • Additional support and mentorship will be offered to composers with less experience of delivering participatory work.
  • We are seeking to collaborate with global majority composers and therefore welcome applications from artists from a diverse background.
  • We are also seeking to collaborate with artists that have lived experience of homelessness.


We can cover the cost of access requirements for disabled artists. Please get in touch to discuss any access requirements.


Each composer will receive a project fee of £3,500 which breaks down as follows:

Composer fee (writing, notating, recording)£3,000.00
4 sessions of delivery (including planning and meetings)£500.00

Streetwise Opera is unable to pay for local travel expenses to attend workshops, rehearsals or performances.


April 2023Deadline for applications: Friday 7th April, 5pm
April 2023Interviews:

  • Wednesday 19 April in London
  • Friday 21 April in Nottingham and Manchester
June 2023Workshops to create music for each act of the opera with Streetwise Opera participants in each city.
October – November 2023Further workshops to create music for each act of the opera with Streetwise Opera participants in each city.
March 2024Preview performances of each act in London, Nottingham and Manchester.
June 2024Final performances.

Recruitment process

Applications for this role are now closed.

We will hold interviews (either in person or on Zoom) on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 19 April in London
  • Friday 21 April in Nottingham and Manchester


Composer fee (writing, notating, recording) of £3,000.00 plus £500.00 for four sessions of delivery (including planning and meetings), for a total fee of £3,500.00.


Not available