Reaching Out to Welcome
When people have left their homes and find themselves seeking sanctuary, the UK can seem new and unfamiliar. But Opera North have capitalised on the medium of Opera in which language does not prove to be a major barrier but which can be incredibly powerful and moving. People seeking sanctuary are encouraged to attend performances through their free ticket scheme and may even find something familiar in their projects involving World Music and performances which centre around stories of refuge.
Opera North promote staff training opportunities across their workforce (for example, inviting someone who has sought sanctuary in the UK to talk to the cast of an upcoming performance about refuge) and have worked to raise awareness within their audience through “calls to action” and follow up emails detailing how people can support.
They offer taster performances or workshops to many community organisations, including refugee support charities, and attend events such as conversation classes as a way of building relationships. They recommend forming strong links with local partner organisations who may be able to encourage participation