Opera project helps St Basils young people with confidence building
28 AUG 2014

Several young people have taken part in Opera classes over the summer offered by the Birmingham Conservatoire. The project entitled ‘The Empowerment of Opera’ aims to boost confidence and self-esteem in young people. The sessions took place once a week at Edmonds court, led by professional singer Cressida Dolphin and accompanied by a professional pianist.

Opera singing teaches breathing techniques which can help young people with a variety of life skills including posture and voice projection, which in time, with practice can all help increase confidence.

Director and workshop leader Cressida Dolphin who organised the sessions explains:  

“Many young people would like to find employment but their low self-confidence stands in their way. The Opera Experience C.I.C. recognises the challenges young people face when they doubt themselves.  'The empowerment of opera' was a lottery funded project, organised by The Opera Experience C.I.C. it used a combination of singing (and in some places drama) activities to boost the confidence and self-esteem of young people.”

St Basils Learning Skills and Work (LSW) worker Gemma Ferati said: “This was a great opportunity for the young people and is a different but fun approach to helping build confidence. I couldn’t believe the change in some of the young people in just one session. They walked in shy and hesitant and strode out so confident; the transformation was amazing. You would never think it could make such a difference but it clearly has”.

Cressida added:

"It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with the young people at St Basils.  I found them to be polite, respectful and was impressed with their readiness to try something different.  For many it was their first experience of opera and I am happy to say it was an enjoyable experience and one that they will remember.  Singing uplifts us and makes us feel more positive.  I would like to thank the Big Lottery for Funding the project and the fantastic staff at St Basils for all of their support.  The opera workshops had a positive impact on the young people".