Opera Holland Park is a small opera production company that stages 4 shows each summer on their temporary stage at Holland House in Kensington. I joined the company as an intern for three weeks; while they were in the midst of securing artists, stage crew and production team. It was particularly interesting for me, as a Creative Producing for Theatre MA student, to gain access and insight into contracts, interviews and negotiations. The benefits of working with a smaller company are that every department is located within the same office. Communication channels are short and it is easy to keep up with the progress of everyone around. I am able to gain a full insight into the entire workings of the company. My individual tasks included sending out contracts and music sheets, filing returned contracts, chasing up uncompleted documents and updating the database on the on-going progress. Other tasks included researching potential short operas for a specific collaboration project, as well as researching various different theatres and opera houses in Europe for a potential tour of their family opera of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.
Opera Holland Park sets itself apart by making opera accessible to all audiences. They aim to change the perception of opera being prestigious and elite to something that is accessible and for everyone to enjoy. While working at the Opera Holland Park office, I found great interest in the Inspire programme they are running, which is an education program that aims to inspire and encourage all members of the community to experience, discover and actively participate in opera and classical music, developing their taste and knowledge and bringing the art from to as wide an audience as possible. I was very fortunate that I was able to attend one of their quarterly community concerts hosted at the St Cuthberts Church in Kensington. The event was organised by Age UK and as the host of the event explained importance of acknowledging loneliness within a community of elderly, it became clear to me that this valentine’s themed concert was more than just a display of excellent opera music.
This placement is a mandatory part of my course and my placement made me realise the benefits of completing a placement at this point in time. It enables me to make contacts in an industry I am aiming to work in shortly after I graduate and it opens doors at a perfect point in time. The University of Kent bursary scheme helps a great deal, while it is absolutely manageable to commute from Canterbury to London within an hour – it comes at a high price. The financial contribution towards my expenses enabled me to fully enjoy this placement and not worry too much about my bank account.