In August and September 2015, older people from the four areas of Tameside explored aspects of their own identities and those of others, their sense of community and of belonging through a series of creative workshops. Supported by Camerata practitioners, the groups worked separately before joining together to meet for the first time in mid-September and rehearse as a new opera company.
Together the participants wrote all of the lyrics and melodies, devised the narrative, created the characters and staged the piece which was premiered as part of our season opener concert at the Bridgewater Hall on 26th September.
Nick Ponsillo, Manchester Camerata's head of learning and participation, said: “We hope the friendships created during this project continue and that the group not only seek out further cultural opportunities but also work with Tameside Council to commission similar projects for themselves and for other older people in the borough.”
The piece was also performed as part of an exhibition at Portland Basin Museum to celebrate National Older People’s Day and celebrate the range of arts interventions commissioned by Tameside Public Health. This includes Camerata’s Music in Mind project which took place in four care centres in Tameside earlier this year.
The participants of the Tameside Opera have formed new friendships, learnt new skills and had the opportunity to reinvent themselves as individuals.
Cllr Lynn Travis, Tameside Council's executive member for health and neighbourhoods, said: “The theme of the UK Older People’s Day is 'Full of Life', and we are doing our bit to mark the achievements of older people and highlight how older people can remain healthy and active and be an inspiration for younger generations.”
Tameside Public Health press release