19 December 2017
19 December 2017,


Earlier in the year, we were approached by Opera North, through their community outreach programme (The Bravo Club Encore) and in conjunction with Little London Arts, about their Christmas Star project. This was asking for involvement from community groups to design and make stars for decorating the prestigious Howard Assembly Rooms for their series of Christmas events.

Illuminated stars

Stars on display at Opera North

The Leeds workshops relished the challenge and spearheaded as a farewell project by Jo Patrick and co-ordinated by on-site stars Linda Langstaff and Steven Clark, a veritable bounty of stars were created and displayed, adding a touch of yuletide joy at the event.

Dave Newell and Madeline Thorne

Dave Newell (SAS) and Madeline Thorne (Head of Community Participation, Opera North) in front of the stars.

Dave Newell from SAS met with Madeleine Thorne (Opera North’s Head of Community Partnerships), plus Hannah Carey and Sarah Estill (Soprano with Opera North chorus) who trailed forthcoming productions for the company.

Dave Newell from SAS raised the question about how other theatre venues have created “relaxed performances”, which both Leeds and Bradford sites have engaged with at The Alhambra and The West Yorkshire Playhouse. But how, with it’s vivid staging and vibrant performances, could opera produce a “relaxed performance”? Thankfully, Director of External Affairs, David Collins, outlined for 2018, the concept of “whistlestop operas”, in which the story and music is compressed down into 30 minutes. Opera for people in a hurry. However, if this allows us to experience the spectacle and moving event that can be opera, this looks like a brilliant opportunity for our members in 2018.

Madeleine Thorne Opera North Hannah Carey Little London Arts

Madeleine Thorne (Opera North) and Hannah Carey (Little London Arts)

Top darts to the Leeds team for the stars designed!

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