It is full steam ahead as we prepare for rehearsals to begin this week for my opera project: “Down the Rabbit Hole”. I’m very excited and I can’t wait to get my team all in one room and bring the project to life.
Today I spent the afternoon with my brother Matt as I needed help to make one of the props for the project, a tray of Jam Tarts. As these Jam Tarts are not for eating and will need to be used in each performance Matt suggested we use salt dough. I was glad of his help as he is a keen baker and I knew he would help me to solve the problem. Here are a few pictures of our time this afternoon in Matt’s kitchen. George took the photos.
As we are nearing the first performance of ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ I have written a PR piece to help promote my new opera. I hope it will bring awareness of what I hope to achieve. The idea is to bring the project to the attention of those that may be able to help me take the performance on tour and reach a much larger audience. I would really appreciate your input and advice on the content and format of the piece, and if you have any ideas or suggestions on how I could improve it please let me know. If you have any questions that you think I haven’t answered and need to cover in the piece then again please let me know.
Charlotte Hoather is a freelance opera singer and actress. She is bringing her storybook opera production ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ to all of the primary schools in Winsford, Cheshire and to three deaf specialist schools in London, with support from Arts Council England (ACE) who have a commitment to ensuring that villages, towns and cities across this country thrive through a collaborative approach to culture, including working class areas and diverse communities. They and Charlotte believe that culture has a deep and lasting effect on places and the people who live in them, and that working in partnership within places strengthens cultural and creative opportunity and wants this project to prepare the ground to spread opera and classical music to level up access and increase interest from a minority to all.
ACE has a ‘place-based approach’, to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for our communities. As the national development agency for creativity and culture, they aim to work differently in different geographic areas in order to realise the ambitions of Let’s Create. Opera is not out of reach or elite, families can buy tickets at the English National Opera (ENO) with free tickets for children often at lower cost than Musical Theatre productions. People in Winsford can see shows at low cost by graduate students at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and many other festival companies such as Northern Opera and Opera North in Leeds, Clonter Opera and a multitude of touring opera productions at very reasonable ticket prices.
‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ is just one of hundreds of projects ACE have supported this year through their national lottery project grants to support places to make a step-change in cultural provision in their local area. ACE says “Cultural organisations will only ever be as strong as the individual talent and skills on which they draw. In this country, our cultural sector has historically been dependent on a freelance workforce to provide it with its talent and vitality and help it create and run its programmes.” Charlotte is thrilled to have been accepted by this programme as the pandemic significantly affected her work just one year after graduating, just as she was emerging following six-years of degree level training in British conservatoires [the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal College of Music]. She is tasked with creating a more equitable and sustainable ecology for all parts of the cultural sector.
Her first award was during lockdown when she received a ‘Developing Your Creative Practice Grant’ to improve the quality of her work and give her the skills to produce, write and create a touring production. This is how ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ was brought to life; you can read more on Charlotte’s blog. Search for ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’. She aims to provide a high-quality cultural experience, raise deaf awareness and inclusion as she was born profoundly deaf in one ear, and has a collaborative deaf actress fully immersed in the show, Charlotte aims to show just how much they are able to do.
She had a desire to bring opera to her home town of Winsford and to specialist deaf schools in London. She is ambitious and wants to fulfil her creative ambitions and work with teachers and schools to highlight the important of creativity in education, and support a rich curriculum that includes art, design, dance, drama and music. The RCM specialist educationalists spent time with Charlotte to ensure there would the correct educational outcomes, and that material produced by Charlotte for the show supports the schools and the children.
Charlotte would love to tour this production all across the UK and even internationally, perhaps even co-produce moving forward if she can get the investment she will need to do that especially to areas that historically have been less engaged.