A GROUP of talented refugees, asylum seekers and homeless people are rehearsing a new chorus ahead of a Streetwise Opera performance next month.

Middlesbrough Central Library will play host to the performance on Thursday, March 16, when the group meets up with London-based composer Bushra El-Turk.

Members of the group wrote the chorus lyrics before it was set to music by the composer.

Loading article content

It has been created as part of the group’s 15th anniversary season and is part of Streetwise Opera’s national music programme designed to help people who have experienced homelessness to make positive changes in their lives.

The new composition is inspired by Benjamin Britten’s Canticles, which was Streetwise Opera’s inaugural production in 2002.

Bushra El-Turk is one of five Streetwise Opera Composers in Residence who are creating a chorus inspired by Britten’s work with lyrics by the charity’s participants.

Ms El-Turk said: “Collaborating with Streetwise Opera has always been a dream of mine, as I was aware of the great opportunities it provides to make a difference to people who have experienced homelessness.

“I am excited to be able to help its performers feel an increase in self-confidence and inclusion with the magic of music-making, particularly through the specially tailored piece I have written for them.”

Streetwise Opera runs weekly workshops locally in collaboration with the Methodist Asylum Project (MAP) Middlesbrough, Depaul UK’s Positive Pathways out of Homelessness project, and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima).

Streetwise first brought the project to Middlesbrough in 2007 and returned last year when a performance was held in mima.

The charity’s productions show off the skills of the performers in a professional arena, and aims to demonstrate that whatever life throws at them, they can achieve great things.

Anyone wanting to take part in a workshop should call into a drop-in singing and acting session at the Linthorpe Road Methodist Church on a Monday between 2pm and 4pm or at mima, Centre Square between 2pm and 4pm on a Friday during school termtime.

To book free tickets for the Opera Hour performance visit the Streetwise Opera website at streetwiseopera.org/middlesbrough-opera-hour or middlesbroughoperahour2017.eventbrite.co.uk