THE impact of loneliness on older people’s lives is the focus for a newly created opera, written and performed by Tameside residents.
The opera project called “Living in Your Town” is to be showcased at a special, free performance at the Bridgewater Hall, in Manchester, on Saturday, 26 September.
The opera project was developed by Tameside Council’s public health team and Manchester Camerata. It was designed to involve older people who might be feeling lonely, and bring them together as a means of trying something different and opening doors to new interests and friendships.
Fifty people have taken part in the project, joining a singing-songwriting cast to create an opera based on their experiences of living in Tameside. The sessions explored thoughts and feelings about identity, belonging and community.
Nick Ponsillo, Manchester Camerata’s head of learning and participation, said: “We hope the friendships created during this project continue and that the group not only seek out further cultural opportunities but also work with Tameside Council to commission similar projects for themselves and for other older people in the borough.”
The performance has free admission. It starts at 6.30pm and no tickets are needed. People can go straight into the auditorium.
The project was timed to coincide with Older People’s Day, on 1 October, which is a national and international day dedicated to celebrating the positive contribution older people make to society and local communities.
Celebrations for Older People’s Day will take place at Portland Basin Museum with an exhibition of the arts-based interventions, commissioned by the public health team, to tackle the key health priority areas of dementia; loneliness and healthy ageing. It is open to the public between 1 and 5.30pm.
There will be another special installation performance of Tameside’s very own opera at 5pm.
Cllr Lynn Travis, Tameside Council’s executive member for health and neighbourhoods, said: “The theme of the UK Older People’s Day is ‘Full of Life’, and we are doing our bit to mark the achievements of older people and highlight how older people can remain healthy and active and be an inspiration for younger generations.”