Founded in 2002 in response to a quote from an MP in the newspaper – “The homeless are the people you step over coming out the Royal Opera House” – Streetwise Opera is an award-winning performing arts charity that uses music to help people who are or have been homeless make positive changes in their lives. They run a year-round programme, providing weekly singing and acting workshops, theatre trips and public performances in five regions across England: London, Nottingham, Manchester, Teesside and Newcastle Gateshead. Every two years they produce a major opera, featuring their regular workshop participants performing alongside world-class, professional artists.
Streetwise Opera participant told us ‘I would never have gone across the door, I wouldn’t lift my head off the ground, I was that terrified. Now I am able to lift my head up and think I’m proud of who I am.’
Involvement with Streetwise Opera can be the first rung on a ladder of self-confidence for people who are or have been homeless. Through working in a safe and supportive group and participating in opera, an art form that many perceive as elitist, people's beliefs about their capabilities are fundamentally challenged and changed. By being creative, developing new skills, meeting people and simply having fun, people feel better about themselves and feel more able to take on life's other challenges - such as engaging with services, living independently, getting involved with community life and securing employment.
Emily Hurrell, Development Manager at Streetwise Opera says: ‘We are very grateful to have been supported by London Masons the Metropolitan Masonic Charity. Our pioneering and impactful work is made possible thanks to the support of philanthropists and grant-making organisations across the country, and your contribution towards our London Workshop Programme has enabled some of the capital’s most vulnerable and isolated citizens to achieve so much in the past year. Thank you.’
Adrian Fox from London Freemasons, added: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Streetwise Opera with their excellent London Workshop Programme to giving a safe space for the homeless to be able to be creative and develop new skills.”
This is another example of Freemasons supporting the London community. This donation follows on from a £1,250,000 donation, of a £2.5 million funding pledge from London Freemasons to London Fire Brigade. The funding will provide London Fire Brigade with two extended height aerial vehicles.”