Communities across Lewisham will come together to co-create and perform their own opera as part of the 2022 Borough of Culture celebrations


The innovative songwriter and jazz musician Gwyneth Herbert will be the composer for the project and lead a team of professional creatives who will work with the community to compose the music and script, design sets, perform, manage and advertise every element of the opera production.

Organisations taking part include Lewisham Education Arts Network, Lewisham Music Hub, Trinity Laban, Rose Bruford College, Phoenix and Lewisham Homes, and Youth First.

The project is an exciting new initiative designed by dynamic ACE-funded arts charity Music and Theatre for All (MTFA). MTFA founder and internationally acclaimed director Thomas Guthrie comments: “We are thrilled to launch our Urban Operas in Lewisham to coincide with the 2022 year of culture. The project is designed to give vulnerable communities a voice, develop skills and reduce isolation, and build a spectacular show that the entire community can be proud of. Following the inaugural performance in Lewisham, in which we are thrilled to be working with composer-singer-extraordinaire Gwyneth Herbert, we will take Urban Operas to communities around the country.”

Following the inaugural performance in Lewisham, MTFA will take Urban Operas to communities around the country.

In addition to composer Gwyneth Herbert, the creative team also includes Thomas Guthrie as director, acclaimed Lewisham-based designers Ruth Paton and Rhys Jarman; TV movement director and choreographer Sarah Dowling, and Lewisham’s own singing animateur Clare Caddick.