Social isolation and exclusion is something which is often overlooked and ignored. Music and drama have the power to bring people together, challenge perceptions and develop skills.
We currently run three unique programmes that address and combat social isolation and exclusion, exploring music, drama and other creative arts and bringing opera out of the theatre and into the wider community.
‘I’m so glad to be accepted by you all. There are so many orchestras and operas in London but you’ve made me understand that this one is for me and open to me learning.’ – Opera for Thought Participant, 2017
Refuge in Music
Over the past year, we have worked with refugees and recent arrivals to the UK across a wide range of ages, bringing groups into the theatre and workshops out to community spaces. We aim to provide opportunities to engage in new surroundings, create new friendships, learn language skills and welcome people to the UK.
We have worked with two main organisations; Fairbeats and Red Cross. Language has been a barrier that opera is unique in addressing. Participants from groups around London were thrilled to discover that Opera Holland Park singers sang in different languages on stage. Whilst they couldn’t understand the words, they understood the opera. Everyone was unified in the knowledge that every member of the audience was equal, all exploring social and emotional narratives together through the universal languages of music and drama.
We are bringing together four Red Cross ‘Refugees and Befriending’ groups, running workshops in local community centres before bringing the group together at Opera Holland Park and giving everyone the chance to contribute to and perform in an on-stage production.
Concerts in the Community
We take opera out of the theatre to the many people are unable to travel or access an arts venue. Visiting care homes, hospitals, community centres and churches, Inspire offers up-close and exciting opera experiences. We work with the elderly, rough sleepers, mentally ill and hospital patients and partner organisations such as AgeUK, St Cuthbert’s Centre and CW+.
Opera for Thought
For the second year running, Opera for Thought has brought to life an Opera Holland Park production for people living with dementia and their carers through six weekly workshops and a live performance at Opera Holland Park. In 2017, the group has developed an in-depth understanding of Don Giovanni, and has been joined by Opera Holland Park’s Young Artists to discuss themes of love and life, adultery and advice, and of course Don Giovanni and his many, many conquests. The group has joined together to sing, draw, perform, drink tea, eat biscuits, tell stories, and listen to and get to know the Young Artists, gaining a glimpse behind the scenes of Opera Holland Park and bringing a new voice to the Young Artist’s Don Giovanni production.
Opera for Thought is run by OHP’s Inspire and Westminster Arts’ Resonate programme, and is developed to support local people living with dementia to experience and participate in an Opera Holland Park production, and to increase their access to the theatre. The project works with the Young Artists programme to support early career musicians in developing their understanding and experience through hands-on opportunities and mentored work experience.
Archive Social Inclusion Projects
If you would like more information on, or would like to partner with Opera Holland Park for Social Inclusion projects, please email Inspire@operahollandpark.com.