Opera Circus has raised funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for this collaborative project reflecting on WW1 through song, music, film and dance. We are waiting for our permission to start to arrive and then the project will run from this month to March 2019. Bridport Youth Dance, Home in Bridport, David Powell, Bridport Town Council, Robert Golden, Bridport Arts Centre are working together towards a performance at BAC on 4th November, 10th November and then dance from Bridport Youth Dance in March 2019. More information soon. Thanks to Bridport Town Council for their support.
For the last 5 months Opera Circus has been involved in a process called Structured Dialogue through the Voices of Culture project led by The Goethe Institute in Brussels and the European Commission. The question really was how can the EU combat the Nationalism and Fascism that is rising in Europe and can the arts and culture help? They also wanted to know what a variety of organisations thought about this question from those that represented the disabled, worked in prisons and hospitals, the arts, employment and academia. The document is only a work in progress of course but the discussions were good, the commitment from the editorial team profound and the result, useful. It doesn't have all the answers but is a good addition to the challenges that are at present not being deal with in particular all the migrant people who are looking for new countries to live in. Photograph: Robert Golden
The photograph describes the many ages of the people who take part in the TCFT process, the care of mentoring and support of the young people by generous and experienced artists and the multiplicity of cultures with whom we work. You can see the photographic gallery and comments about this process with Glyndebourne, Crisis Classroom and Battle Festival here including the link to The Giufa Project web site.
The core partnership team are meeting at the beginning of October to talk about how the process can move forward, so more news soon.
At the moment we are part of a very special company of people being hosted by Battle Abbey School in the grounds of the ruins of the glorious Battle Abbey in Battle, East Sussex. For those who aren’t aware, this is the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 where England lost to the French Norman army and our culture and language changed.
Our project is called The Giufa Project, the roots of which are in The Complete Freedom of Truth programme and our work with the organisation Arrischianti in Sarteano, Italy in April 2017.
Laura Fatini, writer and theatre director, had been exploring the character and stories of Giufa for over 4 years and the ideas came together whilst we were working as part of one of the TCFT programmes funded by Erasmus, Arts Council England amongst others. Music has been created by Sara Ross, composer from Lisbon, Portugal and a series of workshops, stories, performances have led to our ten days together.
Glyndebourne is a long established opera company set in the beautiful countryside around Lewes in Sussex, South England. Glyndebourne has a history of high quality participation and education work and two out of every three years the company commission a main stage opera for Glyndebourne Youth Opera and a Community Opera Commission as well as smaller scale works.
Last year a new opera called Belongings was commissioned and produced by Glyndebourne, with music by the composer Lewis Murphy, a young artist in residence with Glyndebourne. The libretto was written by Laura Attridge.
The opera explored the experiences of young people forced by war to flee their homes. At that time, in 2016, TCFT began looking at our concerns for young refugees and migrants and Lewis and Laura both joined the TCFT programme at Bournemouth University in Dorset and in Sarteano, Italy.
A partnership began with Glyndebourne, Opera Circus, Arrischianti in Sarteano, Urban Playground Team, Project Art Works, Crisis Classroom, a charity built to provide education and learning for refugees as well as their hosts. and with a number of artists with great facilitation experience, those who had a great deal of TCFT experience and those who were new to the process. These include Lucy Bradley, Annis Joslin, Darren Abrahams, Omar Shahryar, Judith Coleman, Alister O’Loughlin, Laura Fatini, Cedoux Kadima, Tim Corrigan and Tom, Rosie Russell, Susan Bisatt and Robert Golden. The producing team is led by Chris Stones from Glyndebourne, Tina Ellen Lee from Opera Circus, Sally Lampitt from Battle Festival with support from Amanda Downes, Rory Newbery and many others. Thanks to Sosi, Dave, Amanda and James for the great food from https://www.hohcharity.co.uk
With the support of Battle Festival and the town, the school and Glyndebourne’s vision we are now in the school and town creating new artistic work, learning about each other’s cultures and lives and living in an environment of inclusion, equality and inspiration.
Other people keep joining us, youth leaders who have been with TCFT for many years and now help deliver these projects and their own, other artists and facilitators, our mentors and friends.
On Saturday 25th, Urban Playground Team, led by Alister O’Loughlin, will be sharing some new work in progress as part of the Journey’s Dance Festival at 1pm and 2pm on Abbey Green in the middle of Battle. http://18hours.org.uk/journeys-2018/
On the 29th and 30th there are summer workshops for 9 – 13 year olds who will participate in the sharing of the work on the 30th.
On Thursday 30th August at around 5pm we will be sharing the work we have created over the 10 days we have been together in and around the town of Battle and in the Battle Abbey grounds themselves. More information on this in the next few days.
On 20th October The Giufa Project will be shared again at Battle Abbey from 18.00 – 20.00.
A sharing of some of the work and experiences will also be held in Bridport, West Dorset on the 24th, 25th and 26th October, to be confirmed.
The Giufa/TCFT project will continue in 2019 so do keep an eye on any of our web sites and social media pages.
All photographs and film on this project is by Robert Golden
The last two years can only be described as exquisite pain, that place you strive for when creating art that drowns you in a pit of despair and then makes you realise that you have understood something intangible, it might be small, but your life changes.
We have worked towards a new way of delivering work, building different kinds of partnerships and raising funding in new ways. We have sought opportunities in Europe as our government drives us away from the natural tendency of artists to ignore borders, both political and intellectual. We hope that all this struggle will produce a sustainable company that has a much more horizontal way of working with a larger ensemble taking part and feeding into the way we adapt and change our processes. We started in 1991 and Opera Circus has had many phases of its life, changes made with so much inspiration from artists and others with whom we work and surviving National and Global challenges.
TCFT, an Opera Circus long term project, has taught everyone a huge amount and its reach has affected our performance work as well as our relationships. Thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey to date and to all those who have committed themselves to our future. (See more information below)
We are working on several major programmes including co-partnering with Teatro L'Albero in Matera and Senza Spine in Bologna through the Fondazione of Matera 2019, Italy's City of Culture next year. We are working together to create a new collaborative community opera, called The Silent City. Get Close to Opera, an Erasmus + research project run by Matera Hub looking at informal education in opera with Belgium, Greece, Spain, Italy and the UK. The Giufa Project with Glyndebourne Education, Battle Festival, Arrischianti, Italy, Setubal Festival of Music, Portugal and Crisis Classroom, using the TCFT process to look at new ways of working with the arts and young people, in particular the exploration of inclusion and migration.
We are part of the working pilot process with Leeds and Bournemouth University called Changing the Story. More information on this below.
The Artistic Director, Tina Ellen Lee, has been working with some of the advocates for the greater acknowledgement of Culture and the Arts in Europe, in particular Culture Action Europe, in Rome as part of Belonging and Becoming December 2017, in February 2018 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on The Artist as Citizen and in Brussels in April 2018 looking at Social Inclusion in the EU with Voices of Culture. In September 2017 the Discussion Document will be delivered and shared widely...it will be on this web page.
Making progress through dialogue is so much slower than dictatorship but we have noticed that changes are being made from our first meeting with Salzburg Global Seminars in 2014, "Building Peace Through the Arts" to the workshop led by Alain Ruche with the European External Services in Brussels.
There is news about Naciketa, the beautiful new opera with music by Nigel Osborne and poet/writer Ariel Dorfman. We are waiting for a final confirmation before we launch the public journey to performances in 2020. More soon - some information on the Naciketa page on this web site.
There is a new web site on its way, but until we have the thinking and funding in place, we will be using this blog to share our progress this year.
Opera Circus has been in the privileged position of having the photographer and film maker Robert Golden record most of its work since 1991. An archive of beautiful imagery and storytelling that has partly made us who we are today. Robert has also been at the core of the artist/facilitators team, teaching film making, photography and the art of story telling through images. He has helped to deepen the political thinking in TCFT and become a mentor to numbers of young artists. If you scroll down on this blog page you will find our Vimeo Gallery which contains most of the films made about the work of the company. RobertGoldenPictures
TCFT, aka The Complete Freedom of Truth is a project originated by Opera Circus. The work grew out of Opera Circus' collaboration with the British composer Nigel Osborne which started in 2014, originally in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia but also in the town of Bridport, West Dorset where Opera Circus is based. It is one of many projects run by Opera Circus, but we have realised TCFT has grown to be so successful that many people think it is an organisation in itself, maybe it will be one day.
Thanks to the organisations who have contributed in the last couple of years to the TCFT 2015 - 2017 process, VBC, Romania, Teater Mimart, Serbia, Youth Council Srebrenica, Bosnia, Diverse City, Dorset, UK, Arts Development Company, Dorset, UK, the Comune di Sarteano, Italy, Setubal Music Festival Portugal, University of Bournemouth UK, Urban Playground Team, UK, SLYNCS, Blackburn UK, Besso and Company, Georgia and Education:IPOW, University of Manchester UK. Partnerships are always a challenge and we learn as we progress but without everyone's support and input, TCFT would not be the process it is today.
The UK government may have chosen to leave the European Union but I don't think British Artists will be. We are very lucky to have European partners who believe in movement and exchange of artistry and who don't recognise political and national borders. Art thrives across borders and the richness of cultural exchange and the understanding it brings of how much we all have to share, creates the world we want to live and work in.
So far in 2018
February 12 - 16. We ran a week long TCFT in Bridport, West Dorset. We try and do this every year either in the February and/or October half terms inviting young participants from across Dorset including Bournemouth and from some of our partner organisations, Young People Insight in Croydon, SLYNCS in Blackburn, Activate with Remix and Face Forward from The Arts Development Company. With thanks to Bridport Arts Centre, Bridport Town Council , West Dorset District Council , Awards for All, Alice Ellen Cooper Dean Charitable Foundation and the people of Bridport who so generously helped to make this week such a success including Evie Vergano, organic local chef and caterer.
The artists who worked with us included Alex Gichohi, Louise Katerega, Louisa Adjoa Parker, Ricky Romain, Robert Golden, Rachael Veazey, Rosie Russell, ExileArts, River, Susan Bisatt, Shaniqua Benjamin and with thanks to Francesco Pipparelli and Rory Newbery.
We were happy to welcome Albert Heta Artist and Director of Stacion Cultural Centre in Pristina, Kosovo celebrating the start of Changing the Story, a Leeds and Bournemouth University led Arts and Humanities Research Council Project. Opera Circus hopes to be able to participate in this 4 year, 5 country project with the work in Kosovo. Thanks to Dr Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, Principal Academic at Bournemouth University, Anthropology and Sociology and part of the Seldom Heard Voices Project at BU.
WHAT IS GET CLOSE TO OPERA ABOUT?
The GET CLOSE TO OPERA project will develop and promote inclusive and multicultural arts education and training programmes seeking to support best practice in migrant and refugee contexts. The training methodology will use Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory and focus on Opera as the delivery artform.
GET CLOSE TO OPERA brings together a partnership of organisations from across Europe - Materahub (Italy), Teatro L’Albero (Italy), Opera Circus (UK), Fundacio Privada Promocio d’Escoles (Spain), University of Patras (Greece), European Network of Migrant Women (Belgium) and RESEO (Belgium) and RESEO, the International Association for Higher Education in Opera and Dance.
GET CLOSE TO OPERA is inspired by opera as an artform that embraces multiple languages and engages its audiences emotionally through music. We believe that through opera we can unleash the potential to reach across barriers, creatively communicate, and explore what we have in common.
GET CLOSE TO OPERA recognises the wide range of activity that has already been created in this context, and seeks to engage with opera houses, opera companies, singers, musicians, dancers, actors, cultural mediators, facilitators and cultural practitioners working through the arts in migrant and refugee contexts, and educators interested in non-formal arts education.
Over the next two years until 2019, we will develop and test with them a new methodology, exploring the opportunities that the Theory of Multiple Intelligence could contribute to informal education training and skills in Opera. After a preparatory research phase, we will design an innovative training programme for educators and trainers, which will take place in Matera (Italy) in 2019. We will then apply the methodology developed through a series of pilot actions involving migrants and refugees that will be carried out in Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium and United Kingdom. MIT was named by Howard Gardner, more information here. multipleintelligencesoasis.org
We understand that the level of informal education in the arts is at a different stage of progress in different countries. Working with our partners across Europe we will bring together our learning and the opportunities for the advancement of formal education in the arts in each country.
We will share our experience and our tools on an online platform open with all those who wish to experiment and share the GET CLOSE TO OPERA research and resulting methodology throughout Europe.
Opera Circus will be approaching facilitators and cultural practitioners from their wide network to assist with the research and with our partners and organisations in this field, explore what is available to learn from, and share within, this sector.
Further information from the Get Close to Opera web site. Please get in touch with Opera Circus on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate in the general survey. The survey link will be sent out on the morning of the 8th January 2018.
We are waiting on the results of a series of funding applications to transform the way Opera Circus works, new directions, new visions and new work. The web site will be redesigned and much of the content rewritten. Please bear with us.
We have little capacity to do this at present and are working towards building a virtual arts company that works with a larger ensemble of creative freelance people who will help to develop all the opportunities that we are being offered with sustainable and long term goals.
The Complete Freedom of Truth, our long term international youth arts programme, has proven to be one of the most successful artistic processes we have created since we began in 1991, but has been a drain on our resources, human and financial. We need to re-imagine who we are and what we do and how we do it. .
TCFT has opened up so many new areas of creative work and given new life to the artistic heart of the company.
At present we have a campaign to raise £200,000 to help transform the company and to take on our new programme of work in 2018, 2019 and 2020. If you have any ideas or connections do get in touch.
We will be sending out a Crowdfunding campaign shortly to help raise £20,000 to support 20 young people from Dorset to participate in the TCFT youth programmes in 2018. This includes exchanges with young people in Portugal, Serbia, Romania and/or Italy. They will have the opportunity to take part in the 10 day TCFT UK residency in August 2018, working with Glyndebourne and international partners from Sarteano and Setubal. We will be asking all of our networks to please help us circulate this at the right moment. With thanks.
We have a new advisory group of people to support our Board of Trustees, bringing new skills and intellect to our future work. Alister O'Loughlin and Miranda Henderson of Urban Playground Team, Anna Ledgard, Philiy Page, Shaniqua Benjamin, Rory Newbery, Rachael Veazey, Darren Abrahams, Robert Golden, Alain Ruche (Brussels), Geraldine Sharpe Newton and with guidance from Matt Little of Rio in Bristol.
This has been an exceedingly tough but incredibly productive year. Our thanks go to all those who have supported, helped, advised and been so patient to help us survive. We are on the cusp of change and look forward to the next five years of art, creativity, struggle and positive change.
Opera Circus is partnering with Bournemouth University on this 4 year Arts and Humanities Research Council Project called Changing the Story. Please see the web site for this fascinating research project. Our work will be part of the Kosovo process because of our history of engagement in the Balkan region in particular with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. This is an exceptional opportunity to further the use of arts and cultural activities with young people in areas of post conflict. Thanks to Professor Stephanie Schwanders-Sievers for this opportunity. https://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/125052/centre_for_world_cinemas_and_digital_cultures/3107/changing_the_story
Geoffrey Brown, Director of Euclid, an organisation which offers a wide variety of assistance and advice on EU funding, partners and much besides, is organising a seminar on November 8th. www.euclid.info
In the last 10 years, the EU’s Erasmus+ programme (and its predecessors) have provided over £20m to UK partners in projects involving the arts, culture, heritage and the creative industries. There are a number of Erasmus+ deadlines from now until March 2019 and on 8 November 2017 in Leeds, Euclid is organising a unique one-day event which will explain the opportunities from this programme. There will be presentations from the official UK contact points, and from a number of successful projects, and delegates will have the opportunity to meet with all speakers to ask detailed questions and present their project ideas. The cost is £60 (or £30 if you book before 20 October).
Brouhaha from Liverpool, Opera Circus South West UK, Ecorys, British Council, Leeds City Council and a variety of organisations will be talking about how to make the most of this large funding stream whilst we can.