The Telegraph

16 March 2023

Preview feature by Marianka Swain

‘I was homeless, opera gave me focus and a family’: the magic of Streetwise Opera

It was a simple accident that threw Denise Allison’s life into crisis. “I was working as a carer and my client fell, grabbed my hand and broke it – I had to have four operations, and couldn’t keep working,” she recalls. Because Allison, 74, was a live-in carer, that injury also made her homeless and she spent eight months riding London buses with her Freedom Pass to keep warm.

Allison is not alone. When Philippa Marlowe-Hunt was 18, her mother told her there was no room for her in her new place and she wound up sleeping on the streets. “I was always on my guard,” the 42-year-old recalls. Passersby made her feel “that you’re nothing, you’re scum – you’re not a human”.


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