Streetwise Opera

Image © Jana Chiellino 2011

From 2014–2015 Stef Conner was fortunate enough to be the first Composer in Residence with Streetwise Opera, an award-winning charity that uses music to help homeless people make positive changes in their lives. Her role included participating in workshops in homeless centres around the UK, meeting the Streetwise performers – people all over the country who have experienced homelessness and now come together regularly to make opera-inspired music – and writing new music with them in mind. Her first piece for the group was Songs Paint Worlds, a narrative-driven game-song, in Modern and Old English, which tells a fable-like story, filled of fantastical imagery from the imaginations of the Streetwise performers. It has been performed at local showcases in Manchester and Middlesbrough and more performances follow. You can read Stef’s blog on the piece here: .

As well as regular workshops and local shows, Streetwise Opera put on annual large-scale opera productions, which always include newly commissioned works by some of the country’s most exciting composers, including Orlando Gough, Anna Meredith and Mira Calix. Stef also wrote a short opera, People Watch, for the group, with librettist Bill Bankes-Jones, which premiered in summer 2015 at Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival as part of the Streetwise ‘Little Opera’ series.

Read more: Stef’s blog on writing People Watch

Listen: ‘What We See’, finale from People Watch on BBC

Watch: The full performance online

People Watch