Opera North is now seeking applications from professional music-makers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds living in the north of England for its third programme of Resonance residencies, the Leeds-based company has announced.

Launched in 2017, Resonance aims to give marginalised groups a platform. The programme offers professional singers, musicians and composers 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.

Successful applicants for the new round of residencies will receive up to a week of free rehearsal space in central Leeds in March and April 2020, a grant of up to £3,500 to cover fees and other costs, support and advice from technicians, producers and other specialists, and an optional ‘work in progress’ performance. Resonance 2020 is supported by PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partner Network and there are four open residency opportunities up for grabs.

To qualify, the lead artist must be a professional composer, musician or music-maker from a BAME background, aged 18 years old or over and living in the north of England. Interested artists can apply for a residency as part of Resonance 2020 by completing a short form and submitting it by 10am on 14 October.

One of last year’s winners, jazz singer and songwriter Nishla Smith’s song-cycle, What Happened to Agnes, explores the disappearance of her great aunt in 1930s Malaysia. “Resonance provided an ideal framework for me to explore a new direction in my music making,” she commented.

Zimbabwean singer Thabo used the opportunity to develop an innovative new multisensory performance involving music, visuals and a series of scents. Composer, rapper and MC Testament created a new musical telling the story of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for the office of President of the United States. Classically trained singer Keertan Kaur Rehal used her residency to bring the ghazal, the traditional South Asian art-song, into the 21st century.

A series of short films documenting the four projects developed during this spring’s residencies is available to watch below.

Jo Nockels, head of projects at Opera North, commented: “Each of the participants in Resonance inhabits their residency in a completely different way, and shapes it to fill the need of their own creative process, which is really central to the spirit of the project. We are also beginning to see the longer-term effects of Resonance, as projects from the scheme take flight independently, some enduring relationships are formed and other opportunities are brokered.”

Thabo talks about his Resonance residency at Opera North

Nishla Smith – What Happened to Agnes: Opera North Resonance residency

Keertan Kaur Rehal – The Mango Tree: Opera North Resonance residency

Sarah Yaseen: Work in progress at Opera North Resonance residency



Nishla Smith performs her song-cycle What Happened to Agnes as part of Opera North Resonance 2019 (Opera North).