AN opera celebrating the region through voices of people who have experienced homelessness is set to be staged.

Tell Me About the Truth, at Sage Gateshead, shows that opera, while sometimes considered the most exclusive of arts, can help include the most excluded in our society, while inspiring and delighting audiences.

The production is directed by Olivier award-winner Bijan Sheibani, whose Barber Shop Chronicles at the National Theatre was a resounding success, and designed by Linbury Prize winner Samal Blak, who has recently designed major operas in Rome and Gothenburg.

It is produced by Streetwise Opera, the charity behind the 2016 hit The Passion, which received stellar reviews.

Live music will be performed by musicians from Royal Northern Sinfonia, directed by Timothy Burke, and includes new pieces by celebrated North-East composers Will Todd and Anna Appleby, as well as classical, folk and modern music, from Mozart to Stevie Wonder.

Among the Geordie favourites are songs like Big River, Blaydon Races and The Water of Tyne.

The participants of Streetwise Opera’s workshops in Newcastle and Gateshead will be joined by the acclaimed mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley, who hails from the region. She play the main role of Tina, who proudly claims to have never been in love and is now a reluctant bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding.

During the opera, the cast breaks out in song to share their own experiences of love, including the nostalgia for the Tyne’s shipyards, the struggles of star-crossed lovers, and the passion for the Toon. In the final scene, Tina has an opportunity to set aside her cynicism and discover the truth about love. Will she take it?

The partnership also involves Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Recovery College Collective, Changing Lives and BBC Newcastle.Streetwise Opera performer Santino Taylor-Barratt said: “I feel very privileged to be part of a show that celebrates the pride and the love that we have for the North-East.

“We are very proud of where we are from and what we stand for in this area. We are about hospitality and seeing people doing well. It’s not about affluence or about what you’ve got. It’s about who you are.”

Susie Gorgeous, co-executive director of Streetwise Opera, said: “Homelessness has increased by 60 per cent since 2012 and it is now even more important that we promote positive attitudes towards homeless people.

“We hope that this opera demonstrates how the arts can inspire people to overcome some of the many challenges that people face as a result of homelessness.”

Performances are in Sage Two at 5pm and 8pm on Saturday April 14, and 3pm and 6pm on Sunday April 15. Box office: 0191-443 4661.