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Opera Start In The Community

Opera Start 2017







Opera Start 2016
Supported by the Arts Council & the Nottingham Music Hub




Opera Start in the Community



Radford Intergenerational Project 2015
Magdala is now VoiceChoice

With funding from Awards For All, Hope Pilkington Trust and local donors, this is an amazing venture into the relationship between the elderly and our yougest community members!

With a series of workshops with Year 5 of Radford Primary School, and a separate series with the elderly residents of Radford Care Centre, this project  has brought together in a creative collaboration, two very disparate sections of the community.

Based loosely around Mozart's Magic Flute, a final joint workshop was filmed by Notts TV where young and old alike shared what they had created. It is an insight into how this music inspires and opens future possibilities for crossing the generational divide.


Ashfield Young Music Leaders Project - year Two 2014/15

National Foundation for Youth MusicWith funding from Youth Music, Nottinghamshire Arts Fund, Community First Neighbourhood Matched Fund programme administered by CDF for the Office for Civil Society and Ashfield District Council, as well as funding provided by the partnership schools, VoiceChoice is working for a second year with young students from Sutton and Quarrydale Academies and Kirkby College to train Young Music Leaders to help lead VoiceChoice music workshops.

The students have been involved in running community and education workshops with participants from Forest Glade Primary School, Leamington Community and Sutton Adult Learners, learning their skills along the way from VoiceChoice's team of professional workshop leaders and musicians.

Alongside their training, students have been given the opportunity to undertake a Bronze Arts Award, a nationally recognised qualification which VoiceChoice is now registered to offer as an Arts Award Centre. This will enhance the young students CVs, with the hands-on workshop experience giving them an advantage when applying for work opportunities in the arts.

In this second year, the project culminated in a performance of Rossini's 'Cenerentola' on Thursday 27th November, showcasing all the Young Music Leaders have learnt over the last few months and bringing them together with the children and adults they have been working with to demonstrate what they have achieved as Junior VoiceChoice Workshop team members. The performance included professional soloists and musicians, as well as soloists from VoiceChoice.

Ashfield Young Music Leader Project - Year One




Year One - Forest Glade Thank You Song

Opera Start has been running since 1999 and has been hugely successful in engaging young people in a creative learning process.

The Opera Start workshops introduce young people to many aspects of vocal, basic compositional and performance techniques, enabling them to create their own pieces, which they perform in staged operatic excerpts alongside professional singers and musicians.

Based on a model that has been used in different settings over the years, each programme is designed uniquely to best meet the needs of the participants involved.

Opera Start has proved highly effective both educationally and socially. The principal education aims are to help the young people realise their own creativity, develop their voices and perceive the link between what they are able to create themselves and the established masterpieces of opera.

Music and Voice (Opera) Workshops and Individual Training

Opera TrainingOne World Festival, Market Square, Nottingham You THINK You Can't - We KNOW You Can!

Workshops and training that captivate the imagination, inspire creativity and impart confidence and improved self-esteem.

Whether you want to write your own song, find your voice or just participate in the most enabling creative experience - VoiceChoice has something to offer you.

Opera WorkshopsFull Education Programmes Workshop

Participate, learn and be inspired.... workshops specifically designed for education settings, community groups and aimed at first access participants as well as experienced performers.

Short Taster Sessions

Test your skills

Introduction to Singing Opera

Experience an opera chorus first-hand

Stage Factory Workshops

Singing, Acting and Performance; all in a day's workshop!

How Opera Start in the Commuity Began

One World Festival Performance,

In 2009, VoiceChoice took the Opera Start methodology and adapted it in a pilot project, focussing on community groups in inner city Nottingham. The project, entitled Opera Goes Carnival, fused elements of opera with the music and rhythms more typically associated with the traditional Caribbean carnival.

A series of workshops, involving artists, dance troupes and members of the VoiceChoice Opera Start team, culminated in public performances in Nottingham Market Square and at the Riverside Festival. The underlying objectives of the project have been to break down existing cultural, artistic and social barriers, develop the skills and raise the aspirations of the Carnival artists and engage diverse community groups in activities which demonstrate the benefits of working together towards a common goal.

VoiceChoice is now seeking to build on these objectives through Community Opera Start, applying the lessons already learned to new groups, in new settings and with new partners. As before, a key aspect of the project is the professional and creative development of the participants; VoiceChoice, with partner organisations and associated artists, provides training for participants in rhythm, dance, costume, performance and script writing, all geared to raise aspirations and creating an environment where cultural and social barriers are surmounted in a creative process.

Independent Street Workshop

Whilst the vehicle in this project is music and performance, its purpose is to tackle the issues of stereotyping, prejudice and negative perceptions that are prevalent across the diverse community groups in the City of Nottingham. The intrinsic structure of the project enables us to address the needs of diverse communities as those involved not only differ in age, gender, race and background; but also in skills, experience and aspiration. The projects provide the perfect opportunity for community members to engage in a sustainable activity, invest in relationships, build confidence, develop transferable skills (such as teamwork and communication) and create a platform for continuing positive growth. There is widespread support for Community Opera Start but its continued future depends entirely on the availability of funding.