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Project information

Opera Hours 2019

Streetwise Opera has commissioned five composers based in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Teesside and Tyneside to create choruses for our performers, people who are or have been homeless. We look for support towards 40 workshops and five events so our performers can learn and premiere the pieces.

January 2019 - April 2019

Charity information: Streetwise Opera

Streetwise Opera logo
  • Need


    Unfortunately, homelessness is on the rise; research showed that between 2010 and 2017, the level of rough sleeping in England increased by 169%, and there has been a 75% increase in households in temporary accommodation. As welfare cuts continue, there is a need to provide support to society’s most disadvantaged and isolated which will help them make positive, sustainable changes in their lives.


    At Streetwise Opera, we know that people who are homeless need stable housing, jobs and food, and we also know that the confidence, wellbeing and social networks that people develop through participation in the arts can play a vital part in breaking the cycle of homelessness. Our Opera Hour project will give our performers the opportunity to collaborate with inspiring artists, take part in an exciting creative experience and perform to friends, family and the public in a professional venue.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To run a creative, positive and meaningful opera project for people who are or have been homeless


    » 5 collaborative projects with composers and people with experience of homelessness in London, Manchester, Nottingham, NewcastleGateshead and Teesside

    What success will look like

    We will evaluate the impact this project has had on the composers, performers and the audience through an end-of-project report

    Aim 2

    To improve our participants' wellbeing and increase their social inclusion


    » 1 joint writing workshop with the composer and performers in each of our five regions
    » 8 weekly workshops for 30 performers to learn and rehearse the music per regions (40 workshops and 150 performers in total)
    » 1 performance to an average audience of 100 people (including friends, family and general public) in each of our five regions (500 people in total)

    What success will look like

    As part of our annual evaluation, we will collect qualitative and quantitative data from participants, workshop leaders, support workers and staff to evaluate the long-term impact

  • Impact


    The project is a key part of our programme of activities which has proven to have a positive impact on people’s lives; our 2017/18 report showed that 92% of surveyed performers felt that their mental health had improved, while 93% had maintained or improved a sense of belonging, and 95% had maintained or improved their social skills. We will measure and demonstrate success through our annual evaluation framework, which was called ‘an example of the best of the third sector’ by Society Guardian.


    We mitigate risks associated with working with vulnerable adults through a detailed set of procedures and policies, and trained support workers attend all activities. The biggest risk for this project lies in raising the fundraising target, however we have applications for support pending, we expect to receive donations at the performances, and we hope the public will support our project through the Big Give Christmas Challenge!


    We will invite donors to the Opera Hour performances, and we will provide donors with: monthly email updates; an end-of-project report; and our annual Impact Report.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £21,760

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £19,800 Fees Workshop leaders and support workers
      £895 Travel costs Travel expenses for performers, instrumentalists and keyboard
      £925 Refreshments Teas, coffees and snacks for performers at performances
      £140 Admin Printing etc

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    PRS Foundation £2,000 Guaranteed
    Anonymous donor £1,500 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our project will take place in London, Manchester, Nottingham, NewcastleGateshead and Teesside; we have worked in all these locations since 2009. Each region struggles with homelessness, as this is now unfortunately a national crisis; for example, the Homelessness Monitor 2017 recorded a 100% increase in rough sleeping in Newcastle and Gateshead since 2016; and Nottingham saw a 153% increase in rough sleeping in 2016 and a further 23% increase in 2017.


    Our participants are people who are, have been or are at risk of homelessness (87% have direct experience of homelessness). Comparing our 2017/18 performers’ profile with that of single homeless people accessing accommodation projects in England (Homeless Link), it appears that we are reaching people with particularly high levels of mental and physical health issues (77% vs national figure 34%), and a high proportion of people with complex or multiple needs (54% vs national figure 32%).

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Streetwise Opera has a long-standing track record in the homeless sector; we have been working with people who are or have been homeless since 2002; and we have won numerous awards such as The Times/Gramophone Music in Community Award, Andy Ludlow Homelessness Award, and a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award. Moreover, two years running, 95% of participants have recorded improved mental health and over 80% have developed better relationships thanks to our work.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Tanja Pagnuco

    As Projects Producer, Tanja is leading the project; she has 11+ years of experience, and she will ensure our performers have a great experience.

    Marigold Hughes

    As Head of Programmes, Marigold is overseeing the project; she has 15+ years of professional experience, including in community settings.

    Mark Oldfield

    As Artistic Director for Workshops, Mark is supporting the composers involved; he is a highly experienced baritone, workshop leader and lecturer.

    Errollyn Wallen

    As a mentor, Errollyn will support the composers. Errollyn is a highly-experienced and much-applauded Belize-born British composer.


Cover the catering for one performance, ensuring our performers are well-fed before going on stage!

I'm not as scared of new things as I was before. I have a lot of friends through coming to Streetwise and I've been to places I've never thought it was possible to go to.

Streetwise Opera performer