Surrey Arts: The Freedom Game Community Opera
Learn about recruiting participants for large-scale community projects and engaging with local authority priorities in this Grants for the Arts case study.
Introducing Surrey Arts
Surrey Arts is Surrey County Council's music and arts service. It works across different artforms including music, theatre, dance and visual arts and is the lead partner in Surrey Music Hub.
Surrey Arts works primarily with young people but also with families and older people in the wider community.
What we planned to do
We planned to create a community opera, commissioned to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta in Runnymede (Surrey).
We wanted to explore the values that are central to the Magna Carta - democracy, liberty, citizenship and identity - with people to whom these values hold particular resonance.
The vision was to involve over 1,300 residents of all ages, abilities and backgrounds from across Surrey. The opera would be performed for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall. Extracts would then be performed at the 'Great Charter Festival' and the 'Magna Carta Foundation of Liberty Runnymede 800' event, as well as local community celebrations.
We were particularly interested in involving people with disabilities in an integrated performance.
How we planned to do it
We planned to commission an artistic team to lead the project and create an opera with the community. They would run a series of pre-devising workshops to involve the community in the writing process.
There would also be a series of audition workshops for the stage and dance company, mass chorus and principal singers, dancers and soloists.
We planned to reach participants through existing networks and partners as well as an open recruitment campaign.