WNO Youth Opera is an award-winning training programme for people aged between 8-25 years old who have a love for singing, storytelling and making new friends. We caught up with Paula Scott who has been WNO Youth Opera Producer for the past 16 years.
‘I’ve been involved in music from an early age, taking part in various productions in both opera and musical theatre and competing in classical music festivals. After university, I trained on ‘The Knack’ course and worked for The Bayliss Programme at English National Opera with Mary King, and then went onto study Musical Theatre at Royal Academy of Music with Mary Hammonds. I still feel lucky that I’m able to watch WNO and other theatre productions as part of my job.
As Producer, you are responsible for the overall creative direction of your programme, including bringing the right creative teams of leading industry professionals together, and providing unique performance opportunities which continue to push artistic boundaries for young performers.
There’s no such thing as a typical day, it varies depending on the schedule. One day I could be visiting WNO Props, the next moving costume rails ahead of a rehearsal.
As part of WNO’s Autumn Season, WNO Youth Opera will perform a new version of Shostakovich’s Cherry Town, Moscow on the Donald Gordon Stage at Wales Millennium Centre. The Company features 40 outstanding young performers aged 18-25 who have all been selected via audition from across the UK. Many of the performers and those with us on industry placements are supported through bursaries and grants; without this financial support, we would not be able to recruit so widely or provide these young people with an amazing career opportunity to participate in a full-scale professional opera of such ambition.
The creative team includes director Daisy Evans, who previously directed Don Pasqualefor WNO, conductor Alice Farnham, who conducted Maxwell Davies’s Kommilitonen!and Britten’s Paul Bunyan for WNO Youth Opera, and vocal specialist Mary King.
While there are many aspects of my job that I love, my favourite part is when I’m attending auditions, in rehearsals, or watching live performances. I really enjoy working with Youth Opera participants as they always bring such a positive energy into the rehearsal room and it’s a privilege to see how every individual develops in confidence and builds their performance skills.
It’s important for WNO to be able to provide an accessible route into opera. WNO Youth Opera welcomes all participants and aims to create an equal environment for all members. Our aim is to open a world of new experiences and opportunities which are fun and exciting, where participants gain an insight into working with a professional opera company and learn about the many different career paths on and off stage, while developing life skills and increasing self-confidence.’