Following Garsington Opera for All’s successful second year of free public screenings on beaches, river banks and parks in isolated coastal and rural communities, Handel’s sparkling masterpiece Semele will be screened in four areas across the UK in 2017. Free events are programmed for Skegness (1 July), Ramsgate (22 July), Bridgwater (29 July) and Grimsby (11 October). In each location a large-scale programme of education and outreach work is firmly integrated with the free public screenings and will provide ground-breaking opportunities for communities to be involved in creating, learning about, and performing opera. Semele will also have a free public screening as part of Oxford Festival of the Arts (1 July) and Garsington Opera's 2016 production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin will be screened this year at the Buckingham Film Place community cinema (17 June).
Opera for All is a programme which challenges expectation by uncovering the ingredients and foundation of opera - drama, music, story-telling and expressive emotion. In 2016 Opera for All worked with 25 schools, reached 1,000 young people, working directly with artists in residencies, and provided skills development for 50 teachers. Over 2,500 people attended the opera screenings. For the students in each location, the experience of working alongside a team of professional artists to create and perform their own pieces in response to the opera was transformative. For many it was their first experience of live professional singing and evaluation of the project has shown significant positive impact on confidence and social cohesion.
Opera for All is a three-year partnership project between Garsington Opera, the charitable trust Magna Vitae, and the Coastal Communities Alliance, and is supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund. As a result of this partnership an online network – the Coastal Culture Network – has been formed.