Mahogany Opera - Snappy Opera commission Open Call

Alex Noble

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Mahogany Opera's 'The World's Beating Heart' by Gwyneth Herbert. Credit Izzy Romilly
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Mahogany Opera is seeking composers, sound and multimedia artists for an innovative new commission to create a new piece of music theatre/opera with children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), developing our successful Snappy Operas primary school programme.

Snappy Operas is Mahogany Opera’s award-winning opera programme for primary schools, winner of the Primary School Achievement Award in The Creative Learning Guild National Awards 2018/19 and Outstanding Music Initiative finalist in the Music and Drama Education Awards 2020. Since 2016, we have commissioned 12 new Snappy Operas – 10-minute pieces created by primary school children working with leading composers and writers. We have delivered Snappy Opera programmes in over 100 schools with 8,500 children to date.  

 In 2022-23 we will be working with pupils and staff of Sandgate School in Kendal, supported by the Cumbria Music Service and Music Education Hub, on the creation of a new Snappy Opera. Sandgate School focuses on pupils with a diverse range of talents and abilities. The school’s core area of expertise is teaching and learning associated to young people with learning needs and disabilities. 

We are seeking expressions of interest from artists with skills as composers, makers, designers, theatre makers, movement and sound artists, music + media installation, to form part of a small, collaboratively-minded creative team who will be commissioned to create a new piece of music theatre/opera with and for the pupils and staff of Sandgate School. We’re open to different disciplines making up the team – we want to hear what your skills are and how you might work with other artists.  

 Snappy Operas promotes an interdisciplinary and play-based approach to our commission programme, creating access points for children of all abilities to be able to contribute to the making of the work. The creative team will work with the school to devise an inclusive programme of activities. 

 This opportunity will be of interest to established artists who value and understand the nature of inclusive arts practice, who are able to adapt their approaches for children of all abilities and able to transform the children’s ideas into a meaningful multi-sensory participatory opera work.  

 Mahogany Opera values diverse perspectives and welcomes applications from a broad range of artists. For this project, we are particularly keen to hear from people with lived experience of disability, significant experience of working in SEND settings and those who live in or near Cumbria 

 Time commitment / fees: the team will work with the school to devise an appropriate programme of activities, and so the time commitment is still tbc but is likely to involve at least monthly online meetings and regular in-person work at the school during the period July 2022 – July 2023. Workshop delivery will be paid at a rate of £300 per day, and planning / meeting time at a rate of £200 per day, plus any access costs and reasonable expenses. 

If you would like to submit an expression of interest to work on this project, please send us: 

  • A CV 
  • One side of A4 or a video up to 3 minutes explaining why you’d like to be part of this project and what skills and experience you’d bring  
  • Links to two projects or pieces of work you’ve been part of that help evidence your relevant experience for the project  
  • Any access requirements  

Please send to Bridget Rennie at Mahogany Opera bridget@mahoganyopera.co.uk by 12pm on Tuesday 3 May.  

 Video interviews with shortlisted candidates will be held on 12 May.  

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