Experiencing homelessness utterly destroys your confidence. People who have been subjected to abuse start to believe that is exactly how they deserve to be treated. So it becomes very difficult to trust ourselves or those around us. These emotional scars can last many years, along with the fear of becoming homeless again.
Recovery from such a traumatic experience goes well beyond finding a new home. It is about rebuilding our self-esteem and allowing ourselves to discover and embrace a new identity. Here is where the arts come in. Being able to express yourself through art and have a positive impact on audiences elevates your mind and allows you to reinvent yourself.
Streetwise Opera has spent the last twenty years demonstrating that opera can play a role in this transformation. Streetwise performers feel heard, seen and valued; we discover a courage we did not know we had; we find friendship among people who’ve gone through similar experiences. And all of this happens in a safe, non-judgmental and inclusive space, whilst having fun!
Over the last year, we’ve been involved in Re:sound, a project that celebrates the spirit and the culture of London, Manchester and Nottingham. This experience has strengthened our sense of belonging in our cities, helping us feel more connected and recognising the common humanity of all who live in these spaces.
We hope that audiences will also gain a lot from Re:sound. That they will have a better understanding of what brings us together; they will look at those who’ve been homeless with kinder eyes; they will understand that opera can truly be for anyone; and they will see that the human spirit can soar to unimaginable heights if only given an opportunity.
– With contributions by Angela Campbell, Anita Ferguson, Elizabeth Serjeant, Elma Twomey, Maryanne Pereira, Rick Forrest and Sarah Bisholo