Investec Opera Holland Park wins International Opera Award for Education and Outreach work

We are delighted to share the exciting news that we were announced the winner of the ‘Education & Outreach’ category of the International Opera Awards at the London Coliseum last night.

The award recognises our Inspire programme, which since 2010 has been working to bring opera to all via accessible ticket schemes and projects for social inclusion, health and wellbeing, and education.

Inspire aims to embrace, engage and enrich the lives of the whole community, working with schools, refugees, the elderly and individuals with learning disabilities. Last year, Inspire engaged with over 5,700 people, through 15 projects and 60 Inspire sessions, all of which were free for participants. Inspire’s specially designed programmes supported almost 200 people living with dementia in 2017, using music to ease its symptoms, bring loved ones together through shared memories and enable participants to enjoy a better quality of life. This year OHP is delighted to be opening its doors as London’s first dementia-friendly opera theatre; having been adapted for those living with memory loss. Our hugely popular accessible ticket schemes enabled almost 3,000 people to watch a main-stage opera last year, via free and low-cost schemes, and a two-for-one offer for Emergency Services staff. Accessible performances are a fixture every season, and OHP is the first London-based opera company to give audio-described performances for blind and visually impaired people. Relaxed performances for children with special needs and their families have given young people who would usually find theatre environments challenging the chance to discover opera.

“It is in the DNA of the company. We do it because we can and should make a difference, and because we all want to.” – Lucy Curtis, Inspire Coordinator

Imogen van Santvoort, Monique Foulger, Michael Volpe, Lucy Curtis, James Clutton and Miriam Verghese from Opera Holland Park with Nadine Benjamin at the International Opera Awards, 9 April 2018

OHP is extremely grateful to its principal sponsor Investec Wealth & Investment for ongoing generosity, which makes Inspire projects possible. This year new Inspire initiatives include the inaugural Schools’ Matinee, a special performance of La traviata reserved exclusively for school groups aged 7-18. OHP will also be engaging families through OperaUNITY workshops, developed around the 2018 season productions. Finally, Refuge in Harmony will see 50 unaccompanied minors come together to create a work and perform it at OHP’s Open Day on 22 July.

OHP has recently released the short film Hip hop to opera, in which teenagers from a south London school take a journey into opera, led by OHP General Director Michael Volpe. The documentary is available on BBC Arts and BBC iPlayer.

“We have always put our outreach and accessible ticket schemes at the heart of everything we do so receiving this recognition is enormously gratifying. Thank you to everyone at the International Opera Awards, to our fantastic sponsors Investec Wealth & Investment, our fellow nominees and every single person in the OHP team. Thank you to the many charities we work with and to all the groups and individuals to whom we take music and drama.” –  James Clutton, Director of Opera and Michael Volpe, General Director

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You can read the 2016/17 Inspire review here.