YOUNG people are invited to open auditions as performers are recruited for a new community opera.

Northern Heartlands, the Durham Great Place Scheme, is teaming up with internationally renowned Opera North to create a new community opera that will be performed in the Exhibition Hall at Locomotion, in Shildon, in late May 2020.

The original story features a group of youngsters determined to sing together despite losing their school music teacher.

The storyline was created using ideas, memories and stories from people across south and west of County Durham and the music composed by Durham-born Will Todd.

A community chorus will perform on stage alongside Opera North's professional chorus, soloists and orchestra and the audience will be made to feel part of the action from the moment they arrive.

The company is now searching for young people to create a fictional youth choir for the show. They will have to take part in rehearsals and four performances, which will take place amongst the railway museum's train exhibits.

An open group audition for young people interested in joining the youth chorus will be held at Greenfield Community College's Shildon campus, next to Sunnydale Leisure Centre, on Sunday, January 12 from 11am to 1pm.

Northern Heartlands director Jill Cole said: “This will be a fantastic opportunity for young people interested in performing.

"You don’t have to belong to an existing choir or to have previous singing experience – just be confident, enjoy being on stage and prepared to commit to the rehearsals and performances.

"The characters in the show are aged about 15 – but you just have to look 15, so you could be younger or older.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the audition or just wanting further information is asked to contact Northern Heartlands by email at or to call Northern Heartlands during office hours on 01833-200220.