for Arts
& Culture
Music | London, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle/Gateshead & Teeside

Streetwise Opera

Streetwise Opera is an opera company and charity that enables people who have experienced homelessness to find inspiration and empowerment whilst they rebuild their lives and identities.

They run an artistic programme in homelessness centres and arts venues in multiple regions (currently London, Manchester and Nottingham) which culminates in the creation of new productions, with participants performing alongside professional artists such as The Sixteen, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Roderick Williams.

Streetwise Opera

Streetwise Opera © Rey Trombetta

Streetwise Opera

Streetwise Opera © Rey Trombettta

Target Beneficiaries

Streetwise’s target beneficiaries are people who are or have been homeless. Beneficiaries are referred to as performers. The performers are identified through partner organisations such as homelessness services and community organisations.

Their main outcomes for beneficiaries include improved well-being and increased social inclusion, which in turn lead to a shift in self-perception that enables performers to make and sustain positive changes in their lives, including moving into stable accommodation and engaging in volunteering or paid employment.


The programme is delivered with a number of partners which include: the Southbank Centre (London, The Passage and Connection at St Martin’s (London), Women’s Direct Access Centre (Manchester), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Nottingham Playhouse (Nottingham) and Emmanuel House (Nottingham).

Weekly sessions take place throughout the year at arts partner venues in each city. Shorter term projects take place in homelessness settings, from which participants are signposted towards weekly sessions. The artistic projects are co-created with participants across all of these settings, culminating in performances at the end of each year.


From April 2018 to March 2019 Streetwise Opera delivered opportunities for 581 performers:






210 drop-in workshops involving 466 performers;
198 Explore workshops involving 239 performers;
5 taster workshops involving 45 performers;
50 rehearsal days involving 45 performers;
38 public performances involving 190 performers;
11 opera trips involving 92 performers;
1 major new opera production involving 58 performers.

Improved wellbeing:









Increased social inclusion:








Reported Outcomes

As a result of improved wellbeing and increased social inclusion the performers were able to sustain other positive changes in their lives:

  • 95% maintained or moved into stable accommodation
  • 50% remained in or started volunteering
  • 12% started paid employment
  • 5% remained in paid employment


Read the Streetwise Impact Reports


People take you as you are and love you as you are no matter what, it makes you feel you have something worth carrying on for.


When I came here my confidence was next to nothing absolutely gone, but since I’ve come here I’ve started coming out of my shell a bit more and talking to people a bit more and it opened me out a bit more. Because of that I’ve got a job, full-time.


Singing is good when you’re feeling down. I often sing when I’ve got a lot of issues going on and I find it very therapeutic. It really does help you overcome when you’re fixating on a problem. It releases you from fixating on feeling sad.


Arts Council England, Manchester City Council, Middlesbrough Council, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, MariaMarina Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Dulverton Trust, The Foundation for Social Investment, The Henry Smith Charity, City Bridge Trust, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, Barbour Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Granada Foundation, The Kirby Laing Foundation, Catherine Cookson Trust, Little Butterfly Foundation, Millward Charitable Trust, Streetsmart, Taurus Foundation, Tobit Trust, Westminster Foundation, Samuel Gardner Memorial Trust, RVW Trust, People’s Postcode Trust, Arup, Big Yellow, Macquarie, NHS and individual donors.