Amanda, a support worker for the Streetwise Opera group at Middlesbrough Town Hall, writes about the collective empowerment that comes from stepping outside our comfort zone:
As support worker within the group, I get to be part of something very unique and very important. I work with some of the most passionate people who represent every aspect of this community, so every performance really does carry the heart of Middlesbrough through it. The performers and everyone involved are able to contribute and impact positively on our diverse community – and have fun whilst doing it!
Every week presents new creative challenges but within each session is a deep sense of trust, support and structure that is created by the whole group as a unit. This is just one of the many special qualities of the Streetwise Opera group in Teesside. Our success relies on the performers’ ability to meet these challenges and work together to make it happen. This particular group are so committed to doing this, it immediately creates an encouraging environment for everyone – especially for new people. There’s an understanding that we’ve all been there, that we feel nervous stepping out of our comfort zone, but we do it together.
There’s a strong social element and sense of community to the Streetwise sessions, and bringing this together using opera as a focus makes our work extra special. Within the stories of opera there are parallels that reflect everyday situations, giving us the chance to look at them through creative eyes and then put our own unique twist on things – an extremely empowering and useful tool for community building and strengthening! The performers really value being able to come together in this way and are especially excited to be working on After Winter. The audience will be able see how much soul and commitment everyone has been putting in and exactly how important Streetwise Opera is to people in Teesside.