Opening up opera to budding directors

21 January 2021
Two young men stand side-on, reading scripts.

Welsh National Opera is delighted to have been chosen as one of 50 host arts organisations offering fellowships as part of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Programme 2020 – 2022. This programme aims to get more people from low socio-economic backgrounds into cultural careers. The new role of WNO Directing Fellow is aimed specifically at people who have experienced social and/or economic barriers to employment in opera.

As an organisation, we are proud of the steps we have taken so far towards better inclusivity, however opera is still viewed as elitist and we know that significantly more diversity in our workforce is required to make sure that WNO is seen as an open and accessible option for a career in the arts.

WNO’s Head of Artistic Management, Kathryn Joyce explains ‘This is a role where the applicant doesn’t need a formal education - no music or drama degree or need to speak any foreign languages required. You don’t even need to have seen an opera. We want to make sure that WNO is relevant to the audiences it serves around the UK and we can only do that by telling the story of opera through many different voices.’

This Fellowship is ideally suited to a candidate seeking to gain experience in opera by working on productions large and small, live and digital; someone who has an interest in the performing arts and what they can offer communities and audiences alike. WNO will provide development opportunities, resources, and career assistance during the fellowship. The programme of work will include a mix of hands on practical work, observation, discussion with experienced practitioners and an introduction to further opportunities.

The Fellow will work regularly with the WNO Youth Opera group, including on a new production; they will also assist on a truly large-scale production as well as collaborating with WNO Producers to curate, plan and participate in additional participatory events around our productions. The Fellow will gain a unique insight into the workings of a large-scale touring company, working alongside visiting directors who will provide insight into their craft during the creative process, and will receive structured mentoring from WNO’s Staff Director Caroline Chaney.

If this sounds like the opportunity for you, or for someone you know, click here for all the information and application details.