Opera North is seeking applications from music creators from minority ethnic backgrounds for its next Resonance residency programme, the Leeds-based company has announced.

To apply for Resonance 2022, artists should complete a short form and submit it by 10am on 10 September 2021. To qualify for consideration, the lead artist must be a professional composer, musician or music-maker from a minority ethnic background, aged 18 years old or over and living in the north of England. The residency will take place between January and April 2022.

Opera North is keen to attract the widest possible range of talented artists for the scheme. The entry form is available in alternative formats, including easy read, Braille, hard copy and audio, and submissions can be accepted via audio or video. As a signatory of the Keychange initiative founded by PRS Foundation, Opera North is committed to a 50/50 gender balance among recipients of Resonance residencies. To discuss any additional needs or overcoming further barriers to applying, please email kathryn.gasic@operanorth.co.uk.

Five lead artists will be chosen from the entries by a selection panel that will include former Resonance artists Camille Maalawy and Thabo Mkwananzi. The successful applicants will receive up to a week of free rehearsal space in central Leeds between January and April 2022, a grant of up to £3,500 to cover fees for those involved and other costs, and support and advice from technicians, producers and other specialists. There are also options for a short film to document the project and a work-in-progress performance or live stream.

All entrants will be notified of the outcome of their applications within three weeks of the deadline, and shortlisted artists will be invited for an informal meeting to discuss their project.

Dominic Gray, projects director at Opera North, commented: “Resonance supports incredibly rich encounters with artists working across the widest range of genres and styles: from Indian classical music to beatboxing and rap, we welcome all musicians who want to try something new and collaborative. We’re looking forward to receiving more pioneering proposals for this latest round of residencies.”

Resonance was developed by Opera North Projects. It was launched in 2017 to offer professional musicians and composers based in the north of England and working in any genre the opportunity to develop new ideas, to collaborate with performers from other disciplines and to take their work in new directions.

The 2020 programme was forced to go online due to Covid-19 restrictions, with a series of virtual workshops for a special Lockdown Edition. However, this year’s scheme was held in person again and Opera North has commented that it is once more looking forward to hosting the five successful applicants. The 2021 residency saw projects including a vocalist and a poet creating new music based on ancient Tamil metre and a composer exploring the construction of identity through music, soundscapes and performance.

Alumni of the programme have gone on to create major commissions for Opera North, including Arya, a concerto for sitar and orchestra by Jasdeep Singh Degun, and the writer, theatre-maker and beatboxer Testament’s Orpheus in the Record Shop, filmed earlier this year for BBC Four’s Lights Up season.

Manchester-based writer, performance artist and producer Keisha Thompson worked with singers and a sound designer and poet to develop her new play The Bell Curves, an ambitious look at the ethics of DNA hacking, taking in religion, politics, science and gospel music.

“The Resonance commission has been a true blessing”, she said. “I cannot explain how uplifted I have felt throughout the whole week. To be given the space to hone my practice has helped me to see things a new way and I cannot thank Opera North enough for inviting me into the family.”

Resonance 2022 is part of PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partner Network supported by PPL. For further information, see Opera North’s website.



Keisha Thompson, Yvonne Shelton and Cherie Johnson at Keisha’s Resonance Sharing, Opera North, May 2021.