Youth Company Auditions 2020

Every year we run audition workshops for places in our Youth Company. We have just completed an inspiring month meeting young people aged 9-21 from across the county with a view to offering places to join the company from April this year.

The word ‘audition’ can be a terrifying thought if you have never done anything like this before and as we are looking for potential rather than polished performance we try to make it feel like a fun workshop where young people can reach their potential.  This works really well and I’ve witnessed children grow enormously throughout the two hour workshop.  Malakhi has been in the company for several years:

“When I first heard about opera I thought it was just people singing as loud as they could out to an audience of mostly older people dressed in suits and long dresses. Then Garsington came into my primary school and I experienced how exciting and adventurous opera is. After this I auditioned to be in the company and got in. As a member of the Youth Company I feel I can be myself, make new friends and reach my full creative potential”

Places to join this company are fully funded through the generous support of the Helen Hamlyn Foundation and as such we seek to recruit young people from a diverse range of backgrounds.  This year we visited Chalgrove, Ibstone, Frieth, Stokenchurch and Millbrook primary schools and Cressex secondary school and from these workshops were able to offer over fifty new places. We also ran an open audition that any young person could attend, offering fifteen new places from this. It’s wonderful to receive responses when children have been offered a place;

“I couldn’t believe it when my teacher told me I’d been given a place in the Youth Company, I burst into tears.”  9 year old from Stokenchurch Primary School.

 “I am excited for this opportunity, enthusiastic and over the moon that I have achieved a place with you." New member

Our new Youth Company, made up of existing members and new recruits, will begin rehearsals this April on a world premiere that has been co-commissed with Opera North, to be performed on Friday 31 July 2020. Based on Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant, the work has been composed by John Barber with words by Jessica Duchen. The Youth Company will take solo roles alongside two professional soloists, as well as being the core ensemble that tells the story.  

Karen Gillingham, Creative Director of Learning & Participation