Sunday 4th August, 2013

Streetwise Opera



The Answer to Everything is a film opera starring a cast of 120 homeless people from Streetwise’s 11 groups around Great Britain. With music provided by a host of composers both from opera’s past and present, the drama follows the progress of an ill-conceived ‘re-homing’ scheme which the delegates all gradually realise is not in fact ‘The Answer to Everything’. As music floods into the conference the delegates begin to connect to what really matters: fellow humans and the world around them.




THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING is an integrated opera and film production starring a cast of 120 homeless people from Streetwise’s 11 groups around Great Britain. They have been working with BAFTA-­‐nominated filmmaker Joanna Coates (script) and Rupert Jones (director), together with Streetwise Associate Artistic Director, Emma Bernard (film/live script and live show director). The result is a 40-­‐minute film, which can exist on its own or as part of an operatic event, including another 40 minutes of live performance.




Set in a fictional conference, Streetwise Opera’s 10th anniversary production is an opera combining live performance and a 40-­‐minute film. The film follows three groups of delegates at a series of conferences, as they gradually realize that the proposed re-­‐homing scheme is missing the point about what people really need. The music in the film reveals the besuited delegate’s inner feelings, as they begin to reconnect with what truly matters – their fellow human beings, and the world around them. Skilfully mixing performances from Streetwise Opera’s homeless and ex-­‐homeless performers with a handful of professionals (including renowned soprano Elizabeth Watts), this rich and characterful film also features new commissions by Gavin Bryars, Orlando Gough and Emily Hall, with existing music by Britten, Handel and Vivaldi.


Featured music


Cessate, Omai Cessate by Antonio Vivaldi

Zadok the Priest by George Frideric Handel

Your Heart’s Found My Heart by Emily Hall (new commission)

Lascia ch’io pianga from Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel

Now the Great Bear and Old Joe Has Gone Fishing from Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten The Birds Will Still Sing by Orlando Gough (new commission)

The Open Road by Gavin Bryars (new commission)


Music: Gavin Bryars, Orlando Gough, Emily Hall, and Britten, Handel & Vivaldi

Director: Rupert Jones

Associate Artistic Director: Emma Bernard

Producer: Jess Gormley

Executive Producer: Matt Peacock

Script: Emma Bernard & Joanna Coates

Music Director: Duncan Ward

Sound Designer: David Sheppard

Directors of Photography: Matthew Beecroft & Denzil Armour-­‐Brown


Emma Bernard has been the Associate Artistic Director of Streetwise Opera since June 2011, and has directed for the company since 2007. She has recently worked with composer Orlando Gough (XX Scharnhorst, Swarm), Jocelyn Pook (Hearing Voices) and singers, Melanie Pappenheim and Rebecca Askew (Flam, Jilted), devising and directing original work.


Rupert Jones studied at Edinburgh College of Art and started writing and directing short films after a spell as a storyboard artist and composer. He has directed pop promos for artists as varied as Bob Dylan, The Streets, Charlotte Church and Sophie Ellis Bextor. He writes and directs for TV and is currently developing several features.


Jess Gormley completed her first feature film as Trainee Producer on BAFTA-­‐nominated The Arbor, following which she produced a More 4 documentary following dancer and choreographer, Akram Khan. She is currently an Executive Producer on the nationwide short film making scheme, Collabor8te.




With thanks to: project funders – Arts Council England, Macquarie Group Foundation, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, PRS for Music Foundation, RVW Trust – and all our individual supporters, our artistic partners – Opera North, The Sage Gateshead and WNO – and our centre partners – The Booth Centre, Crisis Skylight London, Connection at St Martin’s, Hope North East, Nottinghamshire YMCA, The Passage Day Centre, Tyne Housing Association and Tyneside Cyrenians.