The Janice Thompson Performance Trust (www.jtptrust.org) has been short listed in a bid for £60,000 to produce a brand new community opera…Swindon: The Opera.
Although on the shortlist, Swindon: The Opera still needs to get public support to actually win the funding. Matt Fox of JPT said, “Our project is on a shortlist of six, with other community funding application from across the ITV West region and we need the support of the local community to get the money into Swindon”.
The funding will be awarded via a public phone vote held on Tuesday 28 June.
A short film about the Swindon: The Opera project will be shown on ITV West at 6pm on that day (28 June), along with another from the short list, and then a phone number will be displayed for the public to choose who they want the money to go to.
Matt continued, “We really want the Swindon public to get behind this project and let the rest of the region know that Swindon is a town that is proud of its cultural heritage and values community arts”.
“We will be doing further publicity and making it very clear how people can vote for the project. People should refer to the Trust’s website initially for information (www.jtptrust.org) or alternatively go directly to the Big Lottery Fund website (www.peoplesmillions.org.uk).”
The trust, which is Swindon’s only music education charity, has put a bid in to the Big Lottery Fund – Jubilee People’s Millions (www.peoplesmillions.org.uk) to commission and produce Swindon: The Opera, which if granted the funding, will be written by internationally acclaimed composer Betty Roe and JTPTrust Trustee Matt Fox, and produced by Swindon based production company Madam Renard’s Ltd.
The opera will explore and celebrate Swindon’s rich cultural heritage and make a clear statement to the rest of the region that Swindon is a cultural force to be reckoned with.
“Swindon has a poor national image in terms of culture, and we want to counteract that” said Matt, who decided on the title ‘Swindon: The Opera’. “There have been a number of contemporary operas in recent times, Jerry Springer: The Opera and Anna Nicole: The Opera to mention just two, and these have proved that the inspiration for operatic performance can come from any source.
Swindon: The Opera will look at 60 years of Swindon’s history since 1952, right up to 2012 (The date of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee), paying close attention to the relationship that the arts and culture has had on the people of Swindon in this time. Casting for the opera will happen through a series of open auditions held towards the end of 2011, with everyone who wishes to take part being made incredibly welcome. “We are passionate about including the whole community in the project and proving that opera is not just something for an elite few, but a community art, just like anything else – opera has an unfortunate stuffy image, and we want to get everyone involved to prove it’s actually a vibrant and exciting art form that relevant to everyone”.
One of the key elements of the funding bid will be the inclusion of local schoolchildren in the opera. “The Janice Thompson Performance Trust currently runs an exceptional programme of singing classes for children from 3 years old right up to adults. We also, through funding from Heart radio, currently offer a limited number of scholarship class places to children who may not otherwise have been able to partake in music lessons. With Swindon: The Opera, we intend to work directly with a number of local schools to provide the children with vocal training, so that they can be included in the opera when it is performed in August 2012’. We also will use any money made from opera ticket sales to provide a far larger number of scholarship singing places to local Swindon children”.
“Swindon has a the potential to be a cultural centre for the West of England, if we can combine this funding with the knowledge and support of the arts professionals working in the town, we can really make a difference to Swindon people of all ages.