Next year it is 30 years since Opera Circus first emerged out of the master classes and performances several of us created in London with the great buffo bass Federico Davia. (We have attached the only biography we could find.)
What followed were nearly 10 years of touring with newly devised and commissioned productions - more information about this elsewhere on this web site - and then a number of years of recreating the company and how we worked and who with. Often every year something different, depending on the offers, funding successes and the people rolling up.
Probably the most important of these being Nigel Osborne, Composer, Inventor, Human Aid worker, Emeritus Professor of Music at Edinburgh University, community music advocate and recently creator of Music for Well Being with the NHS as well as the music project with Cat Stevens for Syrian Child refugees in Lebanon, the Harmonics Programme.
Currently Opera Circus is working with Nigel and the film maker Robert Golden on a 9 minute "lockdown" opera called Osman Bay and the Snails. This is based on the story of the imprisonment of Osman Kavala in Turkey and two pet snails who kept him company for a while in his cell. See more of the story on the blog below this one. The opera will be on line in a few days on this web site and all of our social media platforms. Links to follow.
Opera Circus is part of the Dorset section of a national group of people and organisations concerned about the shrinking and distortion of the arts in England called What's Next. A very interesting process where over 150 artists and arts organisations in this small and underpopulated county are speaking once a week and acting together to help those who are in danger of going under. As usual Governments have no idea of how freelance artists work and talk of profits and this lack of understanding of creative working structures is causing the collapse of many people's livelihoods. They have just understood how self employed plumbers work so maybe at some point they will try to comprehend the lives of artists.!
At the moment the What's Next Dorset group are supporting the arts ecology in the county by sharing furloughed staff and their expertise, raising funding through an emergency crowdfunder and promoting projects that are still running to continue to source funding, for instance Bridport Arts Centre's Bridport International Prize for Poetry, Short Stories and Novels. The latter has a deadline of the end of May with chances of winning prizes up to £5000.
There are plans to screen the films live in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the first weekend of October 2020, if we are allowed to travel and gather. That weekend Reactor-Cluj should be performing at MESS Festival, their 60th anniversary, in Sarajevo and we are looking forward to seeing their work and the long term TCFT activists and friends, Raul and Petro. Dates and details to follow when we know more.
Several of the young people who created the films are either working on a second short film or Part 2 of their first film idea. If you click on the Changing the Story link above you will find the times of the film screenings as well as the opportunity to join a Q and A with the young film makers at midday on the 5th June.
If you have never applied for international funding from Erasmus + you are about to lose the opportunity for ever. Between 2014 and 2020 the EU provided €14.7 billion in grants for youth, sport, training and education. The UK, although many people didn't know that this funding existed, still managed to successfully apply for just under one billion Euros (including University education and exchanges) over this period and there is still one deadline to go for Erasmus +, 1st October 2020. After that the far right ideology-led Brexit will remove our right to participate in these grants. It is young people who will suffer the most and this funding will not be replaced in the UK.
There has been a great deal of lobbying the DCMS, education and youth departments but the assumption is October 1 is the end.
It is the young people from backgrounds where parents cannot afford to pay for trips and school holidays abroad, different educational offers for exchanges, scholarships and studying within Europe, who will have these opportunities denied to them in the future.
We have been applying to Erasmus + (KA1 and KA2 Youth Mobility and Strategic Partnership Funding) and at the moment are waiting to hear about the KA1, the announcement is only 7 weeks late. The KA2 we will hear about on the 16th August. More information on this on the TCFT web site soon. We will apply again for another KA1 in October and with luck should have 70% of the funding we need for at least another 2 years work with partners in Italy, Kosovo, Serbia, BiH, Denmark and UK. More soon.
This bit of news is not going to turn into a big moan about Arts Council England and its current emergency funding failures, nor the disinterest of the government in the arts in the UK, see above re this.
This is part of the Great Pause.
We have no idea.
Having said that,
there is a lot of creative thinking going on.
We will let you know when we have an idea of
and other new work.....
Thank you to everyone who has helped us get this far.
Photography and Film: Robert Golden