I’ve been working as Education Runner for just over 2 months now and I love it! My role is to attend as many projects and workshops as possible in the 4 months I’m here, acting as anything from Project Manager to Example Participant (which is great as I get to become a child for the day!).

I’ve been attending Streetwise Opera in Manchester every Wednesday, joining in with the workshops put on in the homeless centre there. Streetwise run workshops in homeless centres across the UK, Opera North has been working with the group in Manchester on a programme to develop people’s self-esteem and confidence through singing, music, acting, directing and story-telling.  They are currently working on an amazing new Film Opera called ‘The Fables’. Seeing the development of the piece over the last few months and hearing how much the participants love being involved is really heart-warming. One of the participants has even been inspired to start work on her own Opera!

Every Tuesday I make the journey up to Bridlington where we have our Sing Up! residency. It’s a very long day with 3 different choirs, but it’s so rewarding. I didn’t realise, until taking part in this residency, how lucky I was to be so immersed in the Arts. I grew up attending shows, orchestras, workshops – everything! Because of its location, the people in Bridlington don’t have these luxuries, which is why the massive contribution Opera North has made has had such an impact.

Monday night is dedicated to OPUS, the Leeds based out-of-schools project run by Opera North. This project is one of my favourites as I find the workshop artists so inspiring! They have an amazing amount of energy which really helps the kids grow in confidence throughout the sessions.

The rest of the week is filled with varying projects from Opera 1 & Operations to Play ON, the orchestral workshops. Being a musician myself I love getting involved in the Play ON sessions as I can use some of my teaching skills to help the children progress on their instruments.

I learnt the effectiveness of Opera 1 the other night when I went to see Turn of the Screw for the first time. Having not even read the book before-hand, I found that from working on Opera 1 I knew the Opera inside out – music and all! It definitely makes the show so much more accessible to kids who might otherwise not really give Opera a chance.

It’s been a jam-packed few months but I’m learning so much working with Opera North and I’ll be sad to leave when it gets to Christmas!

Steph Hovey, Education Runner